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AI operations partially hit as pilots skip duty


Air India’s flight operations were partially affected on Sunday with a section of pilots deciding not to report for duty in protest against pending issues related to salary and allowances, besides alleged denial of weekly off.

Some pilots who fly narrow-body aircraft did not turn up for duty, affecting operations of around 10 to 12 flights today, airline sources said.

These pilots are members of the ICPA, which had earlier warned the management of action unless pay anomalies between the pilots of erstwhile Indian Airlines and Air India were sorted out by September 7. The pilots are also angry over the delay in payment of international crew layover allowance that they are entitled to when flying abroad.

Some pilots owing allegiance to ICPA have stopped taking duty calls about their respective flight schedules following which those flying wide-body Boeing 777 and 787 have been drafted for operations, sources said.

The ICPA pilots were also irked over alleged denial of weekly off to them. According to them, the roster for September 1 to 14 had no mention of their weekly off. Riled, its leaders had asked all ICPA members to decide their weekly off on their own.

An ICPA circular issued by its general secretary Capt. T Praveen Keerthi yesterday said," In continuation to Circular No. 05 of 2016, since Capt. Arvind Kathpalia (ED ops) has failed to print planned weekly off for all ICPA pilots, DO NOT ACCEPT any revised roster from CMS and follow the roster issued before 1st September 2016 only, till further instructions from ICPA." 

The Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (ICPA) represents around 750 pilots who operate narrow-body planes and are from erstwhile Indian Airlines.

Air India spokesperson could not be immediately contacted for comments.

Specific details of which flights were affected could also not be immediately ascertained even as sources said mostly domestic services were impacted.

On September 1, the ICPA had flagged continuing pay anomalies in a strongly-worded letter to Air India’s Director (Finance).

"Our patience has run thin. We will wait till September 7 for the anomalies in pay and allowances to be corrected and international layover allowance to be paid up to date failing which we will be forced to take any action as deemed fit to safeguard the interests of our members," ICPA had said.