SC says,won’t intervene in Air India pilots’ strike

The Supreme Court refused to entertain Air India’s plea for initiating contempt proceedings against Indian Pilots Guild for allegedly obstructing implementation of its order on training of pilots for Dreamliner aircraft

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: May 12, 2012 2:52 am

The Supreme Court today refused to entertain Air India’s plea for initiating contempt proceedings against Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) for allegedly obstructing implementation of its order on training of pilots for Dreamliner aircraft.

A bench headed by Justice T S Thakur said,“They have done nothing for obstruction of justice or to bring disrepute to the court. Your problem is with them. You sit with them and sort out the differences. Don’t resort to contempt proceedings.”

It further said that if the strike is illegal,then the airlines can take action against them. “Rest assured that if there is slightest contempt of court,then we would ourselves initiate proceedings against them,” the bench said.

Air India had on Thursday moved the apex court seeking initiation of criminal contempt proceedings against the office bearers of the IPG by resorting to protest action,which,it said,disrupted international flight operations and amounted to contempt of the apex court orders.

Meanwhile,civil aviation minister Ajit Singh today met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and apprised him of the ongoing strike by IPG,the union representing the pilots of erstwhile Air India.

“I met the Prime Minister and discussed the issue with him,” Ajit Singh told The Indian Express. He said his ministry was willing to talk to the pilots but maintained that they must first unconditionally withdraw the disruption of operations. The ministry has,however,hardened its stance against the pilots who have been reporting sick since Monday night. “Their demands are frivolous,” said a civil aviation ministry official. The IPG has two key demands. One,AI management must not allow pilots of Indian Airlines to train on Boeing Dreamliners and two,they must be allowed to fly first class when on duty.

…crisis worsens,25 more pilots get the pink slip
New Delhi/Mumbai:
The crisis in Air India worsened today with the airline management sacking 25 more pilots and writing to DGCA to cancel licenses of 11 dismissed office bearers of the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) after over 200 striking pilots refused to return to work.

“Air India is escalating the matter rather than resolving the issue,” Tauseef Mukaddam,IPG spokesman said,making it clear that their agitation will continue.

He said the pilots have sought time for a meeting with Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh to find an amicable solution. In a statement tonight,Air India said it has terminated the services of 25 striking pilots “taking a serious view of the situation”.

With this,the total number of pilots who have been dismissed since the agitation started on Tuesday has gone up to 71.

AI has also written to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation asking it to cancel the licenses of 11office bearers of the IPG whose services have been terminated.

On a day when 23 flights were cancelled causing hardship to passengers,the airline said it was putting in place a sustainable contingency plan to mitigate the inconvenience caused to them.

PTI

‘AI’s training format causing imparity between AI,IA pilots’

Censuring Air India’s decision to leave behind the erstwhile Indian Airlines (IA) pilots and send only Air India (AI) pilots for Boeing 777 aircraft training,the Delhi High Court today restrained AI from holding any fresh training in the current format and noted that the carrier’s policy caused “imparity” between the two sets of pilots.

The court however refrained from interfering with the ongoing training programme while ordering a stay on any fresh training “in this manner” until Justice Dharmadhikari report was implemented. The court added that service conditions of those pilots,who have already received the training on Boeing 777,shall also be subjected to the final orders.

“I hereby make it clear that the pilots of Air India who are already on training on advanced aircraft,they shall not be disturbed and those who have already taken the training on advance aircraft shall be subject to the outcome of the instant petition,” said Justice Suresh Kait.

He was deciding an application moved by the Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (ICPA) — a group representing erstwhile IA pilots,who had sought a stay on the Boeing 777 training since it failed to include them. ICPA contended that the training of AI co-pilots directly as commanders on advanced aircraft would impact their seniority status,even though IA pilots were already commanders on basic aircraft.

Justice Kait agreed with ICPA’s submission and said that the issue required intervention in the government policy by the court.

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