A-I pilots stick to stand, airline to begin hiring
NEW DELHI/MUMBAI DOWNPLAYING Air-India’s threat to hire new pilots and use trainee pilots to run its operations, some of its striking aviators said on Wednesday they will not call off their agitation and the airlines’ move will put passengers at risk.
Reacting to the airline’s plans, Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) general secretary E A Kapadia said that safety is the cornerstone of the aviation industry and Air India’s plan to using trainee pilots will endanger passengers as 430 experienced aviators remain on strike.
“There can be no short cut to the safety of our travelers and it is imperative that no consideration of an alternative that compromises safety is made by the (Air India) management,” Kapadia said.
The IPG secretary general’s reaction came after a silent procession it held simultaneously in Mumbai and New Delhi to create awareness and highlight the pilots’ concerns over the current impasse which went into the second month on Wednesday.
Others in the IPG have maintained that they will not end their stir until a minimum of their demands are met.
“We are in it for a long haul. This is our airline too.
We have now placed only two demands... recognition of our unions and reinstatement of 101 sacked pilots..
After that we are ready to join back and hold discussions with the government,” Rohit Kapahi, committee member of Indian Pilots Guild (IPG), told IANS.
According to other IPG members, the threat not to reinstate the sacked pilots would only further harm the airline as it has spent nearly Rs 400-450 crore on training these 400 pilots, who can in any case join private sector airlines.
“The national carrier has spent nearly Rs 1 crore on training of each of us. This money will not be recovered until and unless the issue is resolved. The private sector will not require to spend this amount on our training and will anyways hire us,” an agitating pilot who did not want to be named told IANS.
“But we are not here for money or anything, we just want our rights to be given to us and a fair and free working environment in Air India,” he added.