100 pilots threaten to quit Indian flag carrier


NEW DELHI, India – In a move that could hit Air India’s international operations, over 100 pilots have threatened to quit the airlines, charging the management with adopting discriminatory attitude against them and stalling their career progression.

The development comes four days ahead of the launch of a training programme for pilots to fly the Boeing 787 Dreamliners, the first of which is expected to join the airline by December.

In a letter to Air India CMD Rohit Nandan, over 100 pilots, owing allegiance to the Indian Pilots’ Guild (IPG), said they were “compelled to seek a No Objection Certificate so that we may consider seeking employment elsewhere”.

Copies of the letter were also sent to Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi and other officials, besides the Regional Labour Commissioner, Mumbai.

When contacted, Air India officials, requesting anonymity, said the IPG office-bearers were currently holding negotiations with the management and “we are hopeful of sorting out their issues”.

The IPG represents around 200 pilots of the pre-merger Air India, while the Indian Commercial Pilots Association that had gone on strike in April this year represents around 1,400 pilots of the erstwhile Indian Airlines.

A total of 101 pilots signed the letter claiming they felt “cheated by the management’s unfair and discriminatory decisions, leading to a complete stall of our career progression”.

“These decisions and actions provide a windfall gain to the pilots of erstwhile Indian Airlines at the expense of the career progression prospects of the pilots of erstwhile Air India,” the letter said.