Air India pilots have asked the government for financial assistance in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The divestment-bound airline's plea for help comes as airlines across the world stare at massive losses due and even fear going bankrupt.
Two Air India pilots' unions-- Indian Aviation Guild and the Indian Commercial Pilots Association -- have said that the coronavirus outbreak has wreaked havoc across the globe. The pilots said that in such times Air India pilots continued to do their duty at considerable personal risk and rescue people from affected countries.
"Despite cases of infections on our aircraft and even quarantine for our crew, the employees continue to do their duty at considerable personal risk," stated the letter. "We urge you to provide urgent financial aid to Air India so that we, the airlines employees, can keep on doing our jobs and (continue) serving the nation," the unions said.
The pilots said that the government has not infused any funds into the airline in the current financial year and stated that it would make it impossible for Air India to meet its monthly financial obligations.
"Our salary is getting delayed for more than a year and even as of date, even January wages have not been paid in full," the pilots said in the letter. They stated that essentially all Air India flights are currently rescue missions that they are undertaking at the cost of their own safety with escalating risk of contracting coronavirus. "This repeated withholding of wages is straining us financially," the unions said in the letter.
Think tank Centre for Asia Aviation, has already warned that most airlines across the globe would go bust if the governments do not undertake coordinated action. As per another report by Acuite ratings, domestic air traffic could be impacted by 50 per cent.
Separately, the Board of Airlines Representatives in India (BALR) has sought a 30 per cent reduction in aeronautical charges for the next six months. The foreign airlines body said that the new coronavirus outbreak is adversely impacting the airline industry, and it is under tremendous pressure.