New Delhi/Mumbai: With Air India deferring a training programme for pilots to fly the Boeing 787 Dreamliners by a month, division between its pilots came to fore with those belonging to erstwhile Indian Airlines opposing the contention of their AI counterparts.
While the erstwhile AI pilots owing allegiance to the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) demanded that all Boeing planes be flown by them, the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) said this was "unreasonable" and contrary to the agreement reached between the two unions and the management last month.
As talks progressed between IPG leaders and Air India management in Mumbai, the erstwhile AI pilots said a comprehensive plan and a road map should be drawn up for such training programmes for all pilots of the national carrier.
But "until this road map is drawn up - we propose that the management maintain status quo; that is, pilots of erstwhile Indian Airlines fly the airplanes ordered by erstwhile Indian Airlines, and pilots of erstwhile Air India fly the aircraft ordered by erstwhile Air India."
On the other hand, the ICPA shot off a letter to AI CMD Rohit Nandan saying, "We are deeply disturbed over IPG decision to oppose ICPA pilots flying the B787 Dreamliners after an understanding was signed between ICPA, IPG, and management on this October 8."
The IPG represents around 200 pilots of the pre-merger Air India, while the ICPA, that went on a flash strike in April-May this year, represents around 1,400 pilots of the erstwhile Indian Airlines.
The ICPA letter came after a division bench of the Bombay High Court, hearing a petition filed by IPG, was informed by that the airline had decided to defer the B 787 training programme by a month. The matter would now come up for hearing on November 14.
The CAG had in his report on the performance audit of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, placed before Parliament on September 8, 2011, had terming the move for acquiring "large number" of planes as "risky" saying the aircraft acquisition had "contributed predominantly" to the airline's massive debt liability of Rs 38,423 crore as on March 31, last year.
The petitioner said he had made representations before CBI and other government authorities but no action was taken.
"There was no transparency in the financial dealing of Air India and owing to corruption, there is a debt liability of nearly Rs 40,000 crores as on March 31, 2010," he said.
First Published: Wednesday, November 2, 2011, 20:21