Air India will hire new pilots, says Ajit Singh

In yet another crackdown in the pilots strike, the Air India has now announced to hire 100 pilots, huge number of them would be co-pilots in place of the 400-odd pilots of erstwhile AI who have been on strike for almost a month.

While talking to media on Wednesday, the Civil aviation minister Ajit Singh said, “The strike is over for us as the striking pilots have refused accept the Dharmadhikari committee report, which is part of the airline’s turnaround plan and I don’t think there is any point in their coming back.”

Further, Ajit Singh told media that AI will surely now expand its network by hiring new pilots as well as accomplishing the training of 90 trainees.

He said, “If the terminated pilots (AI has so far sacked 101 pilots) want to come back, they will have to apply afresh once the airline advertises.”

Meanwhile, around 400 pilots of the Indian Pilots’ Guild (IPG) have been on strike since May 7 with the issue of pilots of erstwhile Indian Airlines being allowed to fly the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. As they believe that this would affect the career progession of Air India pilots

However, the IPG pilots took out silent protest march in national capital and Mumbai yesterday.

“Our stand is that the strike is illegal. The high court has also said it. They also did not give notice (for the strike)… They (pilots who have not been sacked) are still welcome if they want to come back, but there should be no pre-condition,” Ajit Singh said.

He said, “For the initial six to eight weeks, the first Boeing 787 will be used on domestic routes to enable trainees to practice landings and take-offs. The first long-haul flight of the aircraft will be in August between Mumbai and London and Australia operations will commence in August-September.”

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