Air India pilot association has written to new chief, Tata Sons’ Chairman N Chandrasekaran, to restore their emoluments. The body, Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (ICPA), said that their salaries were cut by 55 per cent citing COVID-19. The International Layover Allowance was also cut drastically, the body said. ICPA added that it pleaded with the previous owner to restore the payments, but there was no response. It argued that there is no merit anymore to continue the pay cut.
The association said that Fixed Hours Working Allowance must be restored. It appealed to Chandrasekaran to restore the allowance given the sustained improvement in domestic and international passenger demand. “Payment of actual flying hours is extremely invidious to pilots undergoing training and conducting diverse duties like CRM, EFB, other office duties, etc., for the betterment of operations,” it said in the letter.
The ICPA also asked for the International Layover Subsistence Allowance to be reviewed. It added that the allowance is paid by the government as per the rates fixed by the Ministry of External Affairs. These rates apply to government employees on duty abroad, it added. The body requested Chandrasekaran to review the allowance to industry standards by abolishing the current MEA rates, which the body said are “discrepant to the flying crew”.
The association also asked the Tata Sons chief to revise the salaries of co-pilots. It said that Air India co-pilots are the “least paid in the industry from day one”. On top of that the pay cut has dented the pilots’ morale. Moreover, pilots are pushed to obtain higher qualifications as per company requirements. The airline cannot afford to lose these experienced pilots to competitor carriers, it added.
The pilots’ body urged Chandrasekaran to intervene in the matter, and said that they are open for discussions on possible alternatives.
Chandrasekaran was appointed the new Chairman of Air India on March 14. That came after Turkish national Ilker Ayci declined to be the Chief Executive Officer of the airline. On October 8, 2021, the government announced that Talace Private Limited -- a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tata Sons -- had won the bid to acquire debt-laden Air India. Tata had outbid a consortium led by SpiceJet promoter Ajay Singh by offering Rs 18,000 crore.
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