AIR INDIA - THE MAHARAJA IS DYING - SAVE IT and THE ERSTWHILE AIR INDIA PILOTS sign now

To
The People of India
The President of India
The Prime of India
The President of Indian National Congress

SUB: SAVE THE EXTINCTION OF AIR INDIA and the AUTROCIRES & HARASSHMENT TO ITS ERSTWHILE PILOTS:

This petition is to regretfully inform all the inhabitants of our planet earth that AIR INDIA, one of the greatest Aviation company and the dream of its founder Mr. J. R. D. Tata, which is currently being sabotage and looted by people who have been given the responsibility and duty to maintain it and its employees, which seems to be on the verge of permanent extinction, due to mismanagement, non responsive behaviour, bias and partiality to its erstwhile Employees.

The reason seems to benefit, one section of the MERGER entity with total disregard to the other part of the entity. Eventhough following its merger with Indian Airlines, Air India has faced multiple problems, including escalating financial losses, discontent amongst employees, and poor customer service. In August 2011, Air India's invitation to join Star Alliance was suspended due to its failure to meet the minimum standards for the membership.

In 2007, a good 2000 crore of tax payers' money was injected to our national carrier. The idea was to have new planes to add to the aging fleet so that we can remain competent. But the very year AI made a staggering loss of 4000 odd crores. No explanation given against this huge loss. The excuse was simple – because the international flyers suddenly decided not to fly out of nowhere. The next year another huge chunk of public money was invested into it. Again that year AI suffered a loss of 11000 crores. This time the excuse was the unprecedented increase in fuel price. Hoping against the hope yet another big bite was invested, leading AI to lose a never heard 16000 crore that year. You guessed it – this time the recession was the culprit. Starting from the recession to increasing in crude oil price. Increasing terrorism to Icelandic volcanic catastrophe. Everything is blamed but the real culprits – the management of Maharaja.

Since the merger in 2007, the management has routinely been passing on benefits to the pilots of erstwhile Indian Airlines while discriminating against the pilots of erstwhile Air India. Since the merger, the following benefits have been accrued to the pilots of erstwhile Indian Airlines;

a) Pay-scales:
Since the merger erstwhile IA pilots have been demanding the same pay-scales as the erstwhile AI pilots. This completely ignores the fact that the work schedule of a pilot of erstwhile IA is very different from the work schedule of an erstwhile AI pilot. For example, erstwhile IA pilot, predominantly flies smaller aircraft (Airbus 320, 160 passengers), mostly on domestic / short haul routes, and spends approximately 5 days of the month outside of home. Whereas, an erstwhile AI pilot, predominantly flies larger aircraft (such as Boeing 747 - 430 passengers, Boeing 777 – 340 passengers), mostly on international / long haul routes, and spends approximately 25 days of the month outside home.

Further, the demand of common pay scales ignores the international precedent, such as Lufthansa, British Airways, American Airlines, wherein different pay scales exist for domestic and international pilots. In May 2011, the erstwhile IA pilots demanded a salary raise and struck work. On 6 May 2011, the officials of the Ministry of Civil Aviation entered into in agreement with the pilots of erstwhile Indian Airlines assuring them that their demand for salary raise would be met.

In November 2011, the management entered into a fresh agreement with the pilots of erstwhile Indian Airlines granting them a salary raise of Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1.5 lakh for one pilot for one month.

According to the Government guidelines, a PSU has to generate profits for three years prior to giving a salary raise. Far from making profits, Air India has not been able to even pay salaries on time for its 30,000 odd employees. In light of this, the salary raise given to the 800 odd pilots of erstwhile Indian Airlines, demands a CVC inquiry and a probe by the CAG.

Further, the Dharamadhikari Committee was supposed to harmonise the pay scales of the employees of the two erstwhile airlines. It is inexplicable that the management hurriedly granted a salary raise to the pilots of erstwhile Indian Airlines, even before the findings of the Dharamadhikari Committee are known.

b) Disparity in career progression prospects:

Even five years after the merger, the management has been discriminating against the pilots of erstwhile Air India vis-a-vis the pilots of erstwhile Indian Airlines. For example, a pilot who has joined the erstwhile Indian Airlines in 2006, has already been promoted to Commander's grade, whereas a pilot who joined erstwhile Air India in 2003, is still awaiting the same promotion.

The above examples illustrate the discriminatory attitude of the Air India management. It is this attitude of the Air India management that has caused distress amongst the pilots of erstwhile Air India and has precipitated in the present agitation.

Is the management decision to send pilots of erstwhile Indian for training to fly the Boeing 787 one of the reasons for the IPG action.

With respect to the training on the Boeing 787, the management's decision to train Airbus pilots of erstwhile Indian Airlines on the Boeing 787 completely ignores the cost aspect of the said training. For an Airbus pilot of erstwhile Indian Airlines to be trained on the Boeing 787 costs about Rs 1 crore; whereas, for a Boeing pilot from erstwhile Air India, it costs about Rs 30 lakh. Further, from a flight safety perspective, international Airlines, such as Emirates discourage the cross utilisation of crew between Airbus and Boeing aircrafts.

In order to give a clear view of the AGITATION, the erstwhile Air India Pilots are on, the following sequence of event will be necessary for reference and understanding.

SEQUENCE OF EVENTS

Year 2005 (Pre-merger)
1. Indian Airlines places an order for 43 Airbus aircrafts (A319, A320 & A321).
2. Air India places an order for 50 Boeing aircrafts (B777 & B787).

Year 2007 – 2012
1. Air India and Indian Airlines are merged into one entity viz Air India.
2. The induction of 43 Airbus aircrafts commences into the merged entity Air India.
3. As per the management policy, only pilots of erstwhile Indian Airlines are permitted to fly these 43 Airbuses.
4. This allows the co-pilots of erstwhile Indian Airlines to be promoted to Captain’s grade within 4 years.
5. Due to the management’s policy of maintaining a separation, co-pilots of erstwhile Air India are not permitted to fly the Airbus aircraft despite being a merged entity.
6. Even in the merged entity, in erstwhile Air India pilots with 9 years’ experience continue to fly as co-pilots on Boeing Aircraft while co-pilots of erstwhile Indian Airlines are promoted to Captain within 4 years.
7. Until 2011, the management fails to implement any comprehensive policy to merge the employees of the 2 airlines. As a result the company till date operates as two distinct entities under one brand called Air India.
8. In 2011 the company/Government sets up the Dharamadhikari committee to give recommendations to arrive at new pay scales and merger of the cadres of the 2 erstwhile airlines.
9. Even before the Dharamadhikari committee presents its findings, in November 2011, the management signs an agreement with pilots of erstwhile Indian Airlines granting them a salary raise upto 1000 USD - 1400 USD per pilot per month. As per the policy of Government of India (Department of Public Enterprise Guidelines) a PSU has to generate profits for 3 years before granting salary raise to any section of employees. As we are aware the Air India is not only posting losses, it has also been unable to pay salaries on time. Despite all of this, the management granted a salary raise to pilots of erstwhile Indian Airlines.
10. The Dharamadhikari committee has yet to submit its RECOMMENDATIONS.
11. In October 2011, without waiting for the Dharamadhikari committee to presents its findings, the management, all of a sudden reverses its policy of separation between the Airbus and the Boeing fleet and proposes to train the pilots on the B787 on a 1:1 basis.
12. In October 2011, the IPG files a Writ Petition in the Hon’ble Bombay High Court challenging the ad-hoc and arbitrary change in management’s policies, without even waiting for the Dharamadhikari Committee to present its findings.
13. Arguments are held for 5 months in the Hon’ble Bombay High court. On 13 March 2012 the Bombay High Court passes an interim order which upholds the IPG’s contention that the management should not implement this decision of 1:1, as so far a policy of separation has been maintained and therefore puts a stay on the management’s decision.
14. The ICPA challenges the interim order of the Hon’ble Bombay High Court in the Hon’ble Supreme Court. On 23rd April 2012 the Hon’ble Supreme Court merely vacates the interim order passed by the Bombay High court. In the said order, the Hon’ble Supreme Court does not issue any instruction / directions for the training of pilots of erstwhile Indian Airlines on the B787 i.e. the decision to train pilots on the B787 is left to the discretion of the management.
15. Further the Supreme Court clarifies that this decision of 1:1 is subject to the final outcome of the Writ Petition in the Bombay High Court i.e. if the Bombay High Court rules in favour of the IPG, the pilots of the erstwhile Indian Airline who are being trained on B787 will be reverted back to the Airbus fleet.
16. The AI management then misinforms the CMD and the Hon’ble Minister that they have decided to train the Airbus pilots of erstwhile Indian Airlines on the B787 as directed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court. They further misinform the CMD and the Hon’ble Minister that not training the Airbus pilots of erstwhile Indian Airlines on the B787 will amount to contempt of court.
This was clearly a gross misrepresentation of facts.
17. On 02 May 2012, Air India submits to the Hon’ble SC that they would commence training of the pilots of erstwhile Indian Airlines from 08 May 2012. The Hon’ble SC, records the statement of the AI lawyer.
It must be noted that the Hon’ble SC did not instruct AI to commence the training of the Airbus pilots of erstwhile Indian Airlines; it merely allowed the management to use its own discretion.
18. Due to the loss of career progression opportunities caused by the decision of the management to train the Airbus pilots of erstwhile Indian Airlines on the B787, we once again appealed to the management and the Hon’ble Minister to address the career progression concerns of the pilots of erstwhile Air India (Reference our letter dated 02 May 2012). As mentioned above; the co-pilots of erstwhile Indian Airlines are being promoted to Captain’s grade in 5 – 6 years time, whereas the co-pilots of erstwhile Air India take approximately 9 – 10 years for the same promotion. The IPG urged the management to ensure parity in terms of time for promotion with the pilots of erstwhile Indian Airlines.
19. Between 03 – 6 May 2012, the IPG and the management were engaged in detailed negotiations to resolve the Career Progression issues of pilots of erstwhile Air India. By the night of 6th May the management and IPG arrived at a broad agreement on the core issue of parity in Career Progression. It was decided to meet the following day i.e. 07 May 2012 in order to finalize the agreement and sign it.
20. On 07 May 2012 the management completely backtracks from the agreement arrived at the previous day. This shows that the management was never serious about the discussions held over the previous 4 days. The pilots of erstwhile Air India were deeply shocked by this attitude of the management. Considering the highly volatile sentiments of the members of the IPG we appealed to the management officials to reconsider their stance and to build upon the tentative agreement that was arrived at over the last 4 days. The management refused to re consider their stance.
21. Soon after the meeting with the management ended, the IPG representatives approached the officials of the Civil Aviation Ministry. The officials of the ministry were unable to address the issue neither were they able to provide any concrete assurances towards resolving the same. We again conveyed to the officials the sentiments of the IPG members and requested for their intervention to diffuse the highly volatile situation.

Present Situation
1. On 8 May 2012 the Hon’ble Minister, through the media, issues an appeal for pilots to report back to work by 6.00PM the same day.
However the Management hastily derecognizes the IPG and issues termination letters for pilots by 01.00 PM on 8 May 2012, even before the deadline of 06.00 PM issued by the Hon’ble Minister.
This proves that instead to diffusing the situation, the management was actively escalating an already volatile situation.
2. On 11 May 2012, the management approaches the Hon’ble SC citing Contempt of Court against the IPG for violating the order of the Hon’ble SC dated 23 April 2012. The Hon’ble SC rejected Air India’s application on the grounds that the order dated 23 April 2012 was not a direction to send either the pilots of erstwhile Indian Airlines or the pilots of erstwhile Air India.
Since there was no order / direction given by the Hon’ble SC, therefore there was no question of contempt.
3. Based of the above it is clear that the Executive Director –IR has misled the Hon’ble Minister and the CMD to believe that the pilots of erstwhile Indian Airlines must be trained on the B787 as per the order of the Hon’ble SC dated 23 April 2012.
Training of Pilots on the B787
1. Airbus Pilots of Erstwhile Indian Airlines:
Time Period – 6 Months (45 days ground and simulator training in Singapore + approximately 4.5 months flight training)
Cost - Approximately Rs 1 crore per pilot.

2. Boeing Pilots of erstwhile Air India:
Time Period – 2 Months (15 days ground and simulator training in Singapore + approximately 1.5 months flight training)
Cost – Approximately Rs. 30 lakhs per pilot.

3. From the above it is clear that, it is uneconomical to train Airbus pilots on the B787 as compared to Boeing pilots. Further, there already exists a shortage of pilots in erstwhile Indian Airlines, this is borne out by the fact that routinely the Airbus flights are clubbed due to crew shortage.

4. In light of the above, it begs the question as to why do the management insist on sending pilots of erstwhile Indian Airlines for training on the B787 when there is a pool of Boeing pilots who can be tapped for the same.

Conclusion
1. The decision to train the Airbus pilots of erstwhile Indian Airlines on the B787 is against the financial interests of the company.

2. The management of Air India has misled the Hon’ble Minister into believing that the training of the Airbus pilots of erstwhile Indian Airlines was directed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in its order dated 23 April 2012.

We call upon the conscious of all human beings and request them about this immanent threat that is shadowing over Air India and its erstwhile Employees. We need to see the immediate action of all the concerned to save Air India and its employee, especially the President, Prime Minister and the President of United Progressive Alliance, to step in and stop this slow poison death and atrocities meted out to employees of such National Gem and further appeal to the all the concerned to open a channel of negotiations to end this impass. We need to see immediate action and will follow our petition in any venues that are opened to us. Accordingly, we request and invite every body to join it.

We have to remember this:
If the civilized society does not stop such an action of the forces of destruction of the lives of the employees of Air India, we will soon lose everything that our National Gem in known for.

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bruse82By:
Justice, rights and public orderIn:
Petition target:
Government of India, President of India, Prime Minister of India, President of United Progressive Alliance

Petition community:
Citizen of India

Tags

agitation, air india, aviation, government of india, indian airlines, indian pilots guild, ipg, pilots, strike

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