New Delhi:With reports of pilots misusing the benefit to travel as an additional crew member during leave, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh has directed Air India management to withdraw the facility with immediate effect.
"Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh has directed Air India to withdraw with immediate effect the facility available to pilots to travel as an additional crew member during time off or leave.
"Henceforth no such facility to pilots to travel as an additional crew member in Air India shall be available during time off or leave," a statement from the Ministry said.
The direction came following a complaint received by the Minister that Air India`s Captain S P S Suri was given authorisation by the management to fly on Delhi-Dubai sector as additional crew member earlier this month.
Suri, who was commander of the Delhi-Shanghai flight, was grounded by the airline management last month after he failed to report an incident of turbulence faced while operating the flight with an Airbus 330 aircraft.
Three people were injured in that incident.
"The DGCA has also been asked to enquire into this matter and submit a report to the Minister," the statement said.
According to the Ministry release, it was also noticed that the facility available to pilots to travel as additional crew member was being misused by the pilots to travel free of cost during time off or leave.
"A large number of such travels have been authorised in the past by the General Managers. As additional crew member, a pilot despite being on time off or leave enjoyed all facilities of a pilot on duty as regards to check-in and other things," the statement said.
The decision, according to a senior official, would lead to another unrest among the pilots.
"These facilities are being provided to pilots of all the airlines, this is a common practice. It should not have been done in this manner, instead of withdrawing the facility for all, the Minister should have directed the management to withdraw the facility for those against whom any probe is pending," the official said on the condition of anonymity.