Among those whom AI sacked,an Emirates pilot and one in the air

Among those whom AI sacked,an Emirates pilot and one in the air

But AI insists they ‘incited’ others,asks DGCA to scrap their licences.

Critics complain that among the several problems of Air India’s 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 India’s national carrier is one who isn’t 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 D’Silva,“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. AI’s 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. D’Silva 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. D’Silva was among them.

In AI’s letter to the DGCA,Executive Director (Industrial Relations) Vineeta Bhandari accused 11 pilots,including D’Silva 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.

Bhandari’s 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 D’Silva’s former colleagues at Air India said that the airline’s HR department continues to list his name in the simulator training exercises schedule,and for collection of salaries.