Air India to hire more pilots: Ajit Singh
New Delhi, June 6 (ANI): Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh on Wednesday said that the Air India management is planning to hire around 90 more pilots over the next six months, not only for its international operations, but also for its domestic flights.
Addressing a press conference on issues facing Air India, Singh said: "There are plans to train more pilots and hire more pilots for the domestic flights."
He further said the airline would also start new routes to Hong Kong, Seoul and Osaka in August.
Commenting on the pilots who are on strike, Singh said: "It seems pilots have decided not to come back, they have condemned the Dharmadhikari report, which is part of turnaround plan. If they reject that, no point in their coming back."
"Our stand from Day One has been, that it has been declared illegal by the High Court, they haven't even followed union rules of giving notice of strike. I have said in Parliament there will be no victimisation, but they are not willing," he said.
"If they want to come back, they are welcome but there are no pre-conditions," he added.
Singh had earlier announced a new pay and career progression norms for employees of erstwhile Indian Airlines and Air India to ensure parity in the merged national carrier.
Presenting the Justice C.S. Dharmadhikari Committee report on the problems arising out of the merger of national carriers, Singh had said after the committee's recommendations are implemented, pay scales, work hours, promotions for Air India and Indian Airlines will be similar.
"The committee will also look into anomalies in pay scales and a uniform policy on working hours. The new promotions policy will give fair chance to pilots from Indian Airlines and Air India in terms of career progression," he added.
The Dharmadhikari Committee, which submitted its report on January 31 has made recommendations on crucial issues like principles of integration across various cadres, seniority and principles of pay rationalisation of the two erstwhile state-run airlines, issues that have been at the centre of the strike called by the Air India pilots.
The ongoing pilots' agitation has resulted in cancellation of several flights of the ailing airline, including many international ones, causing passenger inconvenience and a loss of over Rs.200 crore to the exchequer.
About 500 Air India pilots who fly international routes have been demanding that their colleagues from Indian Airlines should not be trained to fly Dreamliners, as they believe it may hurt the career prospects of original Air India staff.
Both companies were merged in 2007, but there have been problems with the integration since then. A central auditor also criticized Air India's purchase of Dreamliners last year for "imposing an undue long-term financial burden." (ANI)
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