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Fresh blow to Air India: Mass resignation from pilots against unmet demands; airline claims no impact

FE Online

Expressing anguish over their demands for salary hike and promotion remaining unfulfilled by the cash strapped national carrier's management, around 120 Air India Airbus A-320 pilots have tendered their resignation, ANI reported. A pilot who has put his papers said that their demands have been pending for a long time even as the airline management hasn't given a strong assurance.

The fresh blow to Air India comes amid its issue of non-payment of jet fuel bills to PSU oil companies Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum, and Hindustan Petroleum even as it said that the issue will be resolved soon, CNBC-TV18 had tweeted on Sunday. The flag carrier is already staring at its divestment and having a debt of reportedly more than Rs 60,000 crore.

Pilots claimed that they are unable to withdraw their salaries on time while they are hired contractually for five years at low salaries, the pilot said. The hope of salary hike and promotion with experience is of no avail, he added. The pilots said that the market is open currently and hence they would be able to get jobs with other carriers.

Also read: Air India says overdue fuel payment issues with oil companies to be resolved soon

However, Air India doesn't seem to have an impact due to the mass resignation. The carrier's spokesperson claimed of having surplus pilots and that the airline would not suffer at any cost, ANI cited the spokesperson as saying. Currently, the airline has 2,000 pilots including 400 executive pilots.

The three PSU oil majors on Thursday had written a letter to Air India for making the monthly lump sum payment by October 18, as reported by PTI, to avoid stoppage of fuel supply at six major airports including Mohali, Patna, Kochi, Vizag, Pune, and Ranchi. In August, the oil companies had snapped fuel supply at six airports "in the wake of long-overdue payments to the tune of Rs 5,000 crore," an IOC statement had said on behalf of the three firms.