Air India pilots send legal notice to management over new flying hours
Labour trouble is brewing again for Air India as a pilots' union has sent a legal notice to the national carrier's chairman-cum-managing director (CMD) Rohit Nandan for implementing new flight duty time limitation (FDTL) norms given by the aviation regulator.
The guidelines govern aspects like the maximum daily flight duty period including flying hours limitations, rest period, staff on duty travel and number of landings allowed per pilot as well as the crew to retain their licence.
The Indian Commercial Pilots' Association (ICPA), a pilots union of erstwhile Indian Airlines with over 800 members, sent a legal notice Sep 14 to Air India's CMD Rohit Nandan on the issue of the airline unilaterally altering the FDTL.
The legal notice asked the airline not to alter the FDTL without consulting the union as the FDTL is governed by an agreement between the ICPA and the management since 1993.
The airline has entered into separate labour contracts with most of its unions.
The ICPA also said that the management has issued a new route pattern effective Sep 16, 2012 which it feels is in violation of their bilateral agreements.
"Under these circumstances, the ICPA has issued a legal notice to the CMD. In these circumstances, any inadvertent violation on the part of our pilots of the applicable norms and regulations is entirely at the risk and expense of the management," the union said in a statement.
The development comes after the government on September 11, 2012 directed Air India to immediately implement the FDTL for pilots and crew members.
The civil aviation ministry expects that FDTL will lead to optimum utilisation of its pilots and crew members and will reduce the requirements of operating staff.
A comparative analysis by the ministry found the national carrier flouting FDTL guidelines framed by Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
Even the Dharmadhikari committee, which was tasked with looking into the passenger carrier's human resource (HR) issues, had recommended strict implementation of the FDTL.