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IAF not losing pilots to private airlines: Tyagi

Chief Air Marshal SP Tyagi denied that private airliners were luring away IAF pilots by offering them attractive salaries.

india Updated: Jan 16, 2006 17:38 IST

Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief Air Marshal SP Tyagi on Monday denied that private airliners were luring away IAF pilots by offering them attractive salaries.

Reports of pilots quitting IAF were false, he said adding that he has not received any request from any IAF pilot to relieve him of service to join a private airline.

"We are not losing pilots to private airlines," Tyagi told reporters at SWAC (South Western Air Command) headquartersin Gandhinagarafter inaugurating a three-day "Commanders' Conference."

"The civil aviation industry in India is growing and so there are market forces at play", Marshal Tyagi said.

"A senior captain of a private airline is paid around Rs five lakh while a junior pilot gets around Rs three lakh," he said about the pay scale which are on offer to pilots in the private sector.

"But during the last one year not many (pilots) have left IAF. We have legal tools to prevent IAF pilots from leaving the force," Tyagi said adding pilots will not be allowed to leave "at the cost of the IAF".

"We have a nation to defend and I cannot say that we cannot fly because we have lost all pilots to private airlines," he remarked in a lighter vein.

Though IAF pilots were not bound by any bond, their continuation of serivce in the force was at the "pleasure of the President of India," Marshal Tyagi said.

The Air chief said IAF, like any other Air Force in the world, had invested money and time in training pilots and it would not allow pilots to leave if IAF needed their service.

First Published: Jan 16, 2006 17:38 IST