The Hindu : NEW DELHI, September 18, 2012
The Air India management and the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA), part of the erstwhile Indian, are headed for a confrontation as the latter served a legal notice on the former for changing the flying duty hours in an “arbitrary” manner.
This comes after a 58-day strike by the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) about two months ago which impacted the international operations of Air India.
In the notice, the ICPA pointed out that Flight Duty Time Limitation (FDTL) was an integral part of the service conditions as it clearly states the number of hours a pilot is supposed to fly in a fixed time period.
The notice states that starting with the settlement entered in 1993, the terms of the FDTL applicable to the ICPA have been revised regularly; first in 2001 and again in 2006.
“The agreements were further continued by virtue of the documents of the merger of 2007, most particularly the scheme of amalgamation, which provided that the pilots would not be subject to conditions less favourable to those existing at that point of time. Pilots came across news reports that the company is to unilaterally alter the FDTL without in any way consulting the ICPA. We believe that great injustice is being meted out to them by way of the proposed action. All the settlements are within the knowledge of both the company and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and, therefore, no unilateral alternation is permissible,” the notice states.
Pilots were not aware of the norms and regulations of the new scheme. Under these circumstances, any inadvertent violation on the part of pilots of the applicable norms and regulations is entirely at the risk and expense of the management, the statement says.
The notice comes after Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh asked the airline to strictly implement the FDTL and flying time limitations as per DGCA guidelines.
Aviation Ministry study
A recent study by the Ministry found that Air India pilots were flying just six-and-half hours a day against the laid down norm of nine hours.