With the war of supremacy waging between the two Air India (AI) pilot unions, the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) and the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA), the latter has warned the management of dire consequences if it bows down to IPG's demand that all Boeing 787 Dreamliner planes be flown by its pilots.
The controversy surfaced after AI management made a list of 64 pilots - 32 each from IPG and the ICPA (the union of former Indian Airlines pilots) - was to undergo training in the US for an upcoming fleet of the advanced Dreamliner. However, this irked the IPG pilots and they wrote to AI CMD on October 29, alleging that the management's discriminatory policy had stalled their carrier progression. In retort, the ICPA also wrote to the CMD yesterday, cautioning it against favouring the IPG.
The letter The ICPA's letter to AI CMD Rohit Nandan (copy with MiD DAY) asks him not to give in to the IPG. "We have been following the media and are told that the training for the B787 has been deferred to the end of the month because of the IPG. We request you to kindly not fall prey to any pressure from the IPG and do what is best for the airline as was decided by the management and accepted by both the unions on October 8 and 10. It is disheartening to know that this move has now become political, as the IPG had already agreed as per the minutes signed and are now going back on their word," the letter states.
"There are 850 erstwhile Indian Airlines pilots, who are now demanding an NOC from the management and the DGCA that if there is no career progression and parity implemented this month, any action on our part should not be construed against us," the letter stated. Earlier, about 100 IPG pilots had asked for NOCs. They had even accused the management of discriminatory policies.
In a separate statement, an ICPA official targeted the NCP, saying, "It's time the management sticks to its decision and not bow down to a pilot union backed by a political party, which has lost the civil aviation ministry." Jitendra Awhad, an NCP leader and an MLC, is the current president of IPG.
In limbo Officials informed MiD DAY that they never expected such a situation would ever arise. "We never expected the pilot unions to fight like kids. We are trying to convince them that the issues can only be resolved after a dialogue between the two," said an AI official.
However, a ministry official said the ministry is hopeful that all disputes would be settled, and the management would be able to reach a consensus soon.