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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Ajit Singh to Air India pilots: Will hear grievances unconditionally

For Air India,it is a last shot at survival as the government may not pump more money into the carrier,civil aviation minister Ajit Singh said today in the Parliament.

Written by ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | Published: May 16, 2012 1:05:53 am

For Air India,it is a last shot at survival as the government may not pump more money into the carrier,civil aviation minister Ajit Singh said today in the Parliament. As the pilots’ strike entered its eighth day today,leading to cancellation of ten flights on the US-UK sectors,Singh appealed to pilots to resume work.

“All your grievances will be heard unconditionally but you also come unconditionally. Air India management will in no way be vindictive towards any employees but they should realise…If Air India sinks,all their jobs will also go away,not just theirs but of all other employees,” Ajit Singh said in the Lok Sabha.

Commenting on the Air India-Indian Airlines merger which was undertaken during his predecessor Praful Patel’s tenure,Singh said,“If I look back,with benefit of hindsight,a lot of mistakes were made in the airline.”

He also said that the Dharmadhikari committee report on human resources integration and wage rationalisation would be implemented after taking all employees into confidence.

“In the next two-three months we will discuss it with all the unions. CMD (chairman and managing director) Air India has already confirmed to the agitating pilots that their career progression would not suffer.”

He said the pilots are not accepting the orders of the Supreme Court. “Pilots should accept the court’s judgement (on Indian Airlines pilots being allowed to fly the Dreamliner).”

An Indian Pilots’ Guild (IPG) member said that the minister,CMD and the ministry officials are being misled. “The Supreme Court has nowhere said that IA pilots should be allowed to go for training on Dreamliner aircraft. They have clarified that the decision of sending pilots from both the airlines is subject to the final outcome of writ petition pending before the Bombay High Court,” the IPG source said. The source blamed the airline’s industrial relations department for misleading the minister and the CMD.

Singh said the carrier Tuesday lost Rs 150 crore due to the strike,and the agitation has cast its shadow on the Rs 30,000 bailout approved by the government recently in form of cash infusion,sovereign guarantees and loans.

“Already,the banks are murmuring. When the entire airline industry is in such a state,should we give the money?” He said the carrier would have to “become competitive” and follow industry norms on wages and downsizing to remain afloat.

Meanwhile,the carrier will be operating daily return services with Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft on the Delhi-Paris-New York,Delhi-Frankfurt-Chicago and Delhi-London sectors in its contingency schedule being put in place from May 16 to May 20.

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