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Disgruntled pilots exit Air India over salary, promotion demands

BusinessToday.In     October 13, 2019

Mass resignations rocked Air India as the government is exploring options to offload its stake in the debt-laden national carrier. Around 120 pilots of Air India have tendered their resignations due to discontent over salary and promotion, reports said. These pilots used to fly Airbus A-320 planes in Air India's fleet.

"Air India management should listen to our grievances. Our demand regarding salary hike and promotion is long pending before them but they have failed to give a strong assurance," a pilot who had recently resigned told ANI.

He stated that pilots are facing troubles as they are unable to withdraw their salaries on time and have to pay back hefty loans, ANI reported. The pilot claimed that they are hired on a contractual basis for five years with a low salary. He added that they were hoping to get a salary hike and promotion as they gained experience, but that has not happened.

The Airbus A320 pilots who recently resigned are sure that they will get jobs elsewhere as the market is currently open, the report said. Presently, IndiGo, GoAir, Vistara and Air Asia have A320 planes in their fleets.

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Meanwhile, Air India assured that it has sufficient pilots and that its flight operations will not be affected due to the mass resignation. The state-owned airline presently has 2,000 pilots, out of which 400 are executive.

As of now, Air India has a debt of around Rs 60,000 crore. Attempts to divest government stake in the airline failed to find any takers in the first round of disinvestment process 17 months ago. This time around, the government may be prepared to sell its entire stake in Air India since a partial stake sale failed to garner interest. The buzz is that the expression of interest document for the beleaguered national carrier will be put out before October end.

Air India's sale is crucial for the government as it hopes to meet its highest-ever divestment target of Rs 1.05 trillion for the current fiscal. A ministerial panel headed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah had met for the first time on September 19 to explore options to take Air India's divestment plan forward.

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