Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Wednesday, Jul 20, 2005
`A-I has not accepted pilots' resignations'
Mumbai , July 19
AIR-INDIA has not accepted the resignations of eight commanders and two co-pilots from Air-India Express, the low-cost subsidiary of the national carrier.
As a result of the resignations, which were put in over the past three days, the airline has had to cancel six of its flights, three each from Mumbai and Delhi.
The Chairman and Managing Director, Air-India, Mr V. Thulasidas, said that more flights may have to be cancelled if the situation did not improve.
According to Mr Thulasidas, the pilots had not given the management the mandatory notice period as is the procedure in a Government airline. The airline was willing to accept the pilots if they decided to return, he said.
He emphasised that the action of the pilots did not just harm the interests of Air-India but also the public.
"Through the low-cost operation of Air-India Express, we have been able to offer the unskilled Indian worker in the Gulf a cheap travel option. By their sudden action, the pilots are doing an injustice to these migrant workers," Mr Thulasidas said.
The management, he said, was trying to accommodate the affected passengers on the next available flights to these destinations. Those who could not afford to wait were being accommodated on Air-India's flights to Dubai from where they were being transported to Abu Dhabi by road.
Air-India Express operates 38 weekly flights from India to the Gulf. While flights departing from Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode in Kerala will remain unchanged, certain flights to Abu Dhabi and Muscat from Mumbai and Delhi have been cancelled until July 30.
The cancelled flights are flight IX 221/ IX 124 on the Mumbai-Abu Dhabi-Muscat-Delhi sector operating on Monday and Saturday; flight no IX 123/IX 222 on the Delhi-Muscat-Abu Dhabi-Mumbai sector operating on Tuesday and Sunday; flight no IX 225/IX 126 operating on the Mumbai-Abu Dhabi-Delhi sector on Wednesday and flight no IX 125/IX 226 operating on the Delhi-Abu Dhabi-Mumbai sector on Thursday.
While he was unwilling to be quoted on the airlines that may have drawn the A-I Express pilots with promises of a higher wage package and other financial benefits, Mr Thulsidas said all airlines should follow certain norms in their recruitment policies, else the "growth in civil aviation would become a matter of concern," he said.
Air-India may even have to take disciplinary action against the pilots that could lead to their disqualification, he added.
Air-India, he said, would continue with its recruitment drive. The airline was also looking to hire foreign pilots on contract, he said.
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