After telling Air India on February 10 that they would not be following any changes in the duty roster system because of non-payment of flying allowance, the pilots' union of the national carrier decided on Tuesday that "if any pilot is victimised" by the management, it would go to any extent, including resorting to "strikes". "It has been hereby resolved by the CEC (Central Executive Committee) that if any pilot is victimised by the management, the CEC will go to any extent to safeguard the pilot, including strikes," stated the CEC resolution of the Indian Commercial Pilots' Association (ICPA) dated February 12, 2019. The ICPA represents the pilots who fly the narrow-body aircraft of Air India.
"Complete financial protection along with legal support will be provided by the ICPA on central level," the resolution stated. The Indian Pilots' Guild (IPG) is the union of pilots who fly the wide-body aircraft of the national carrier.
On February 10, both unions told the airline that since they had not received the flying allowance, they had decided not to accept "changes in the (duty) roster and will maintain the CMS (crew management system) printed roster already issued for the month of February". The flying allowance, which is around 70 per cent of the total pay package, is paid to a pilot on the basis of the number of flight hours he or she has clocked in a month. Both unions had said on February 10 that the pilots were working under "stressful conditions" that had "direct implications on flight safety".
Meanwhile, in the recently declared quarterly results, the Air India's passenger count rose by only 4 per cent in the December 2018 quarter, its revenue from passengers increased by 20 per cent on the back of better aircraft utilisation, said a senior official of the company. "Due to better and efficient utilisation of aircraft fleet, the passenger revenue increased from Rs 4,615 crore in third quarter of 2017-18 to Rs 5,538 crore in third quarter of 2018-19," the official said. The official added that the number of passengers has increased to 55.27 lakh during the quarter from 53.28 lakh in the year-ago period. "This shows that passengers have increased by around 4 per cent...but our ASKM (available seat kilometres) has increased at a much faster rate," the official said.