Air India crisis ends, but 'testing' times continue for pilots

Jul 06, 2012, 07:14 IST | Bipin Singh

It will take at least 2 months for the 440 pilots to return to the cockpit, as they have to undergo mandatory tests laid down by the aviation regulators

Although the stalemate between the Air India management and striking pilots has come to an end, inconvenience to travellers may continue for at least a couple of months.

Check, mate! The pilots will have to undergo medical and route test before they take to the cockpit. File Pic

As per the procedures laid down by the aviation regulators, if a pilot reports sick for more than 15 days, it’s mandatory for him/her to undergo a medical examination to ascertain if he/she is fit for flying. And in case of striking pilots, they had be away from the cockpit for about two months.

The medical tests are conducted only at Air Force hospitals and the hospital has to be informed 2 to 3 month in advance. “We inform the Air Force hospital about three months in advance, as they are busy with the medical tests of their own pilots.

The tests of over 440 pilots are likely to take over a month to complete, and that too only if the government pressurises them do in on a priority basis,” said an Air India official. According to another clause, if the pilot is not on duty for over 30 days, then he/she is also subjected to route checks. As there are not many examiners available, this process could also take at least a month.

The Indian Pilots’ Guild (IPG) too has admitted that they it might take up to two months to resume work. “It may take about a couple of months to operate the flights, as we have to undergo different checks,” said Tauseef Mukadam, joint secretary of the IPG.

The IPG pilots went on an indefinite strike from May 5 onwards to protest against airline management’s decision to allow colleagues from the former Indian Airlines to be trained on Boeing 787 Dreamliners. The estimated loss due to the strike has exceeded Rs 750 crore.

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