AI pilots get a boost, global body appeals to Puri against wage cut

Air India pilots protesting against 60 per cent wage cut got a boost on Wednesday after the global pilots’ body sought the urgent intervention of Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri in the matter.

In a letter to Puri, the Indian chapter of Montreal-based International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) said, “It is with utmost concern that we bring to your attention the grave injustice that is being meted out to the Air India pilots via a unilateral and retrospective downward revision of emoluments to the tune of 60 per cent.”

The Airlines Pilots Association of India (ALPA) said that it is shocking that even after being in the line of duty, Air India pilots have been “singled out” for massive pay cuts.

“Thank you @IFALPA for your support and appeal. We are sure @HardeepSPuri Ji will give us justice for the service rendered to the nation amidst the pandemic,” the Indian Commercial Pilots Association said in a tweet thanking the international pilots’ body.

Recalling the contribution of Air India in the repatriation of thousands of Indian citizens, ALPA President Sam Thomas said in the letter to Puri, “These are the very same pilots who went above and beyond the call of duty when called upon by the government to operate the flights for the repatriation of Indian citizens from the world over.

Stating that these pilots have operated these flights without concerning their personal health during the global pandemic and they continue to do so, ALPA said, “The entire nation is grateful to their services and appreciated their efforts as the frontline Covid worker. Therefore, it is shocking that these pilots, after such selfless service, undergoing numerous Covid tests and quarantine, have been singled out for a massive wage cut.”

Citing the disparity in pay cuts, ALPA said that it is important to note that the senior management has taken only “7 per cent” wage cuts.

“We believe that a reasonable, negotiated revision, applicable across the board, is the only fair solution for which the two competent bodies — the IPG and ICPA — are available at any time. We therefore request your urgent intervention in the matter and the use of your good office for an amicable resolution,” the letter said.