Air India Pilots Resign En-Mass, Questioning Promotion & Salary Hike
The trouble for India’s national carrier Air India(AI) seems never-ending. Around 120 Airbus A-320 pilots have resigned after their long-pending demand pertaining to the salary hike remains unmet. The pilots have alleged that the Air India management has not paid any heed to their demand regarding salary hike and promotion.
The discontented pilots are leaving AI as they are sure that they will be hired somewhere else as the market has openings. As of now, IndigoAir, GoAir, Vistara and AirAsia, Indian airlines are operating Airbus A-320 flights.
On being asked if the operations of the national carrier will suffer due to the mass resignation, the Air India spokesperson said that it has surplus pilots. “AI operation will not suffer at any cost, due to resignation,” the spokesperson said to ANI.
At present, the Air India has a total of 2000 pilots out of which 400 are executive.
This came in the backdrop of government mulling over disinvesting the company who has sunken into a deep debt trap.
Speaking to ANI, a pilot, who had recently resigned, said, “AI management should listen to our grievances. Our demand regarding salary hike and promotion is long pending before them but they have failed to give a strong assurance.”
He added that the pilots are staring in the face of adversity as they have to pay back hefty loans. “Even we pilots are not able to withdraw our salary on time,” he said.
As on March 31, 2019, AI’s debt and other liabilities had stood close to Rs 70,000 crore.
Three Impediments Faced By AirIndia
The Rising Fuel Bills:
State-owned oil companies including the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Bharat Petroleum (BPCL), and Hindustan Petroleum (HPCL) have given an ultimatum to AI to pay the long-pending fuel bills or else they will cut their supplies. In August, the three companies alleged that the AI owed them a cumulative Rs 5,000 crore and payments were delayed by eight months.
Deepening Financial Crisis:
AI is undergoing a massive cash crunch as National carrier reported net losses of Rs 8,400 crore in 2018-19, up 57 per cent from Rs 5,337 crore in 2017-18. The loss in the last financial year incurred due to elevated ATF (aviation turbine fuel) prices, rupee depreciation, airspace closure over Pakistan and debt servicing.
AI remains in the headline for substandard quality of the services and food it serves. Recently a member of Parliament was served rotten vegetables and eggshells. The Parliamentarian took to Twitter to criticize the airline for the same.