New Delhi: Air India, which is undergoing transformation, is facing a mounting Human resource issues because of crew and pilots shortage, a pilots' body has claimed.
While the Indian Pilots' Guild has written a detailed letter to the Air India management highlighting different issues, sources claimed that some flights are also getting delayed due to shortage of crew.
The pilots associations have claimed that since early 2022, the management has steadily but strongly enhanced the flying schedule.
"Though management might refute the charges of crew shortage in public, the reality is there for everyone to see. On all fleets, and especially on the 777 fleets, pilots have flown well over 90 hours per month consecutively. The number of leave denials and cancellations is staggering. We cannot maintain the printed planned roster due to a shortage of pilots, as CMS does not have standby pilots. More often than not, the schedule is 'managed', keeping the paperwork in order while the regulatory FDTL may have been undermined. This is not acceptable to us anymore, and we will be forced to take steps by involving regulatory authorities to end this manipulation," said the letter.
The Indian Pilots' Guild and the Indian Commercial Pilots' Association wrote a letter to the airline's Chief Human Resource Officer Suresh Dutt Tripathi on December 13.
The pilot associations also raised the issue of Air India's plan to recruit foreign pilots as it said: "Now Air India is recruiting expat pilots for the 777 fleets at a CTC that is at least 80 per cent higher with significantly higher leave benefits than what is being provided to your long-serving pilots. Are we, as Indian nationals, to understand that we are at a professional disadvantage because of our nationality? On one side, the company is unwilling to revert to the fixed pay and overtime rates for Indian pilots but splurges on expats. We vehemently oppose this discrimination against Indian pilots."
They also talked about secret incentives to several employees. "We have learned through sources that the management has offered incentives to several employees but absolutely none to the line pilots. Does the pilot community not contribute towards the progress of this airline," the letter said.
"We cannot assure that our members will undertake flying duties exceeding 70 hours a month. Any coercive action by the management will lead to Industrial action to safeguard flight safety and our members' wellbeing," said the letter.
Sources claimed that shortage of crew have led to delays in some flights. They have alleged that many crew members have worked overtime.
The pilot associations have also claimed that several components of pre-Covid pay structure are yet to be restored for pilots. "On the workplace platform, many pilots had voiced their concerns about not being paid the pre-Covid pay structure. The management conveniently overlooked our grievances, leading to a dissatisfied workforce," the letter said.
This is the second letter written by the pilots associations to the Air India management in last couple of weeks. On December 8, they wrote to Air India CEO Campbell Wilson raising the issues surrounding working conditions in the airline.
"For the past ten months, the management has been talking to us but has been indifferent to pilots' issues. This is despite extending our cooperation to support the company's revival. We are already under torment by way of an inhumane roster due to a shortage of pilots. In addition, the denial to restore the fixed flying allowance and overtime rates has dramatically dampened our spirits," they said.
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