6 months on, AI pilots await relieving letters

Say that the management has been lazy in processing their resignations submitted in 2011; fear losing out on offers given by international airlines

With the ghosts from the past year still haunting the national carrier Air India (AI), year 2012 also looks grim for the airlines that is struggling to stay afloat. A dozen Air India pilots, who quit their job approximately seven months ago to join a leading foreign carrier for better future prospects, are yet to be relieved from their jobs.

'Why the delay?'
"In 2011, nearly 90 pilots, including our group of twelve had resigned to join foreign carriers for a better future. While the other pilots were relieved, as they had resigned in early 2011, we are still awaiting our relieving letters after resigning in June-July 2011. Moreover, there hasn't been any clarification from the management's side over the delay. They appear to be sitting on our requests," stated one of the pilots, who is yet to be relieved.

Bad to worse
"There is no sign of improvement. Earlier, the salaries would get delayed by a couple of months, now it has become three months. Besides, the offers that we have received from the other airlines are on the verge of expiring. Hoping that the situation would improve sooner or later, initially, we avoided the offers from foreign airlines. Unfortunately, the situation has gone from bad to worse," added another pilot.

'It's unfair'
Commenting on the issue, Jitendra Awhad, president, Indian Pilots Guild (IPG), said, "It is true that pilots have resigned from Air India for a better future, as their salaries were getting delayed every time. I would like to ask the management that if it is unable to secure the future of the youngsters, then why doesn't it set them free? They don't have any right to play with their careers."

Despite repeated attempts, Air India spokesperson remained unavailable for comment.

Sinking fortunes
While the total losses incurred by AI have crossed the Rs 40,000 crore mark, the cumulative loss since its merger with Indian Airlines in 2007 has been over Rs 13,300 crore. Recently, Union Ministry of Civil Aviation had proposed Rs 330-billion bailout for the national carrier by year 2017.

Fact file
Total staff: 42,000
Cabin crew: 4,400
Pilots: 2,000 pilots
Aeroplanes: over 100

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