|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Government suspends 12 A-I pilots
April 26, 2003 21:18 IST
The government on Saturday evening place under suspension 12 Air-India pilots after the Indian Pilots Guild refused to withdraw its directive on operating flights to SARS-affected countries.
"We have no other option but to adopt this measure as we cannot allow any employee to hold the airline and the public to ransom," the A-I's public relation chief, Jitendra Bhargava, said in Mumbai.
More than 50 pilots have been served with letters for their refusal to operate flights to Singapore, Hong Kong and Kuwait and they will face disciplinary action, Bhargava said.
He said the A-I has decided to put in operation the contingency plan, whereby A310 Airbus services might be curtailed, but Boeing 747-400, 747-300, 747-200 would be operated with about 160 executive pilots.
In New Delhi, Civil Aviation Minister Shahnawaz Hussain said the government would recruit on contract some retired pilots to deal with the situation. The duties of pilots have also been extended by an hour, he added.
Bhargava said, "It is a myth being propagated by the IPG and they are only covering up their deficiencies and demands.
"IPG, after a change of guard in January 2003, have been covering their financial demands by such actions."
Officials of the civil aviation ministry, led by aviation secretary K Roy Paul, who is also chairman of the A-I, had flown in from Delhi and met the IPG committee to resolve the issue.
The IPG is demanding a declaration from the management stating that the accompanying crewmembers have not travelled to SARS-affected countries in the last 10 days.Asked if action has been contemplated against IPG president Captain Kenneth Khan, who had declined to operate the London-Mumbai flight on Friday, Bhargava said, "Action will be taken against all who refuse to operate flights, demanding a certificate.
7333: The Latest News on Your Mobile!