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AI sets up committee to review global operations

New Delhi: With the Air India management mulling sacking 300 more pilots who have been on strike for the past 34 days, the troubled national carrier has set up a committee to review its global operations to find out how many pilots are required to operate flights.

This committee would advise the management on the actual number of pilots needed to run Air India`s international operations, airline officials said, adding it was felt that the carrier had far more pilots than it needed.

Since the strike began on May 7, Air India has sacked 101 striking pilots and de-recognised the Indian Pilots` Guild which has been leading this agitation. The Air India management is contemplating dismissing 300 pilots owing allegiance to IPG.

Maintaining that the Air India`s pilot utilisation quotient worked out on an average of 1.4 hours a day, they said the cockpit crew could be utilised for at least 2.7 hours a day as per the guidelines issued by the aviation regulator.

The less number of hours they put in was because of the fact that the airline was overstaffed, the officials claimed, adding the airline would need about 100 fresh pilots to run its curtailed international operations.

Air India has recently issued an advertisement for recruiting fresh pilots, both expats and locals. Taking a tough line on the continuing strike, the officials said, "We have kept the door open for them for far too long but they dont appear in a mood to get back to work."

The ongoing strike by the AI pilots, who fly international routes, has led to the loss of over Rs 450 crore so far.

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