Won't interfere with Air India pilots' training: Delhi High Court

Last Updated: Fri, May 11, 2012 12:40 hrs

New Delhi, May 11 (IANS) In a setback for pilots of the erstwhile Indian Airlines, the Delhi High Court Friday refused to interfere with the training of Air India pilots on advanced airccraft till the report on harmonising the wages of the merged entity's employees is implemented.

"The pilots of Air India who are already being trained on advanced aircraft shall not be disturbed," Justice Suresh Kait said.

At the same, the court pointed that the current process of training pilots for advanced aircraft would go against those from Indian Airlines when the report of the Justice Dharmadhikari Committee was implemented. The report was submitted to Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh in February.

The Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA), representing pilots of the erstwhile Indian Airlines, had moved the high court against Air India and the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG), an association of Air India pilots. It sought a stay of pilot training on advanced aircraft like the Boeing 777 on the ground that its members were not being treated on par with the IPG.

Seeking that its members of commander rank be trained to fly the Boeing 777, the ICPA alleged that the selection process for the training was done "arbitrarily" and against the norms and practice of a career progression plan.

Taking note of ICPA's submission, the court said the present system of training co-pilots of Air India to command advanced aircraft, if allowed to go on, will go against the Indian Airlines commanders, leaving them as commander of basic aircraft.

"The petitioners (ICPA) shall remain commanders of basic aircraft, and a co-pilot of Air India, even without holding the position of commander of basic aircraft, would be commander on advance aircraft," the court remarked.

"This imparity would be a great hurdle in the seniority of the erstwhile Indian Airlines pilots with Air India pilots at the time of implementing the report submitted by the Justice Dharamadhikari Committee," the court observed.

During the hearing, Air India counsel Lalit Bhasin said the Air India management was willing to train ICPA and IPG pilots on a 1:1 ration for flying advanced aircraft.

"One each from ICPA and the IPG can be trained at a time for flying Boeing 747 and 787 aircraft. However, the pilots of ICPA cannot be trained to fly the Boeing 777 as the training process for this category is over," Bhasin said.

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