Critics complain that among the several problems of Air Indias management style is the fact that the right hand frequently does not know what the left is up to. They may have a point.
Among the 71 striking pilots sacked by the mandarins who run Indias national carrier is one who isnt even an Air India employee,and another who was literally mid-air over Europe when he was fired for not showing up at work.
The second pilot,therefore,achieved the unusual distinction of flying a planeload of Air India passengers back to India even though his services had already been terminated by the airline.
A couple of days later,Air India went a step ahead and recommended to the air safety regulator that the licences of both pilots be cancelled.
Captain Donny DSilva,sacked last week for participating in the now 10-day-old pilots strike,quit Air India six months before the strike began in November 2011. He now flies Emirates and is based in Dubai,sources said.
Captain Nishant Nair got the news of his sacking while operating a scheduled flight routed through Frankfurt. AIs executive director (corporate communication) Deepak Barara said,It may not matter if Capt. Nair was operating a flight,as the grounds on which his licence cancellation was recommended was inciting co-workers.
AI declined to specify if the services of Capt. DSilva had been terminated. It said that the letter to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) recommending cancellation of licences contained names of only 10 and not 11 pilots,and denied that Capt. DSilva was among them.
In AIs letter to the DGCA,Executive Director (Industrial Relations) Vineeta Bhandari accused 11 pilots,including DSilva and Nair,of threatening to disrupt operation of Air India and Air India Express in March-April 2012. A top DGCA official confirmed that the regulator had received 11 names from Air India.
Bhandaris letter,dated May 11,2012,a copy of which is with The Indian Express,said: They (the 11 pilots) have not only themselves not flown but have also incited and encouraged other pilots in dereliction of their duties towards the company and towards the people…
Some of DSilvas former colleagues at Air India said that the airlines HR department continues to list his name in the simulator training exercises schedule,and for collection of salaries.