Air India pilots body demands payment of Rs 1,200 crore arrears ahead of carrier’s disinvestment

New Delhi: Air India Executive Pilots Association has written to Chairman and Managing Director Ashwani Lohani, demanding the payment of their arrears amounting to Rs 1,200 crore.

“We are reliably informed that in order to effect the disinvestment process of the company and its subsidiaries, the government of India has sought certain specific financial details of Air India Ltd and its subsidiaries to prepare the audited accounts for 2018-19 which is to accomplish by the end Of June 2019,” executive pilots of the widebody (WB) cadre wrote in the letter.

The letter reads: “Arrears of WB pilots for the period 1997 to 2006 arising out of the revision of wages for the pilots, with effect from 2007 and the 25 percent of wages that are withheld by the company for all employees from August 2012 onwards is due.”

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“This would amount to a current liability of Rs 1,200 crore with a principal amount of Rs 1 crore on an average owed to each pilot,” the letter adds.

A few days ago, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri had told ANI that the Centre was committed to the disinvestment of the national carrier.

The pilots’ body has also threatened to move to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) to recover their dues in case the airline does not pay it before the privatization process starts.

“It may be pertinent to paint out that leaving any scope for litigation prior to disinvestment, initiated
individually or collectively by pilots, arising out the non-payment of the above mentioned must be avoided as it would adversely add to the company’s contingent liabilities and potentially, the future cumulative interest burden
on the divested Company,” reads the letter.

The body has as many as 106 pilots as members, considered to be very experienced pilots of the national carrier.

These pilots are usually deployed for long haul flight like Boeing 777 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.


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