ICPA on war-path with AI management on new wage pact delay

Chennai: Air India’s Airbus fleet pilot’s body ICPA has said it will operate flights only according to the laid down rules till its demands that seek a new wage agreement are met.

According to reports, the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) had issued directives in the form of a safety circular to its members amounting to around 800.

“We had signed a wage agreement with the management for three years in 2016 and the new pact is due. But the management late last year said it would not get into any new wage pact now. We are opposed to it and so have decided to work according to rules in protest,” the PTI said citing sources.

What it says

As per the ICPA circular, the members have been asked to not accept duty to replace a pilot opting out at the last minute unless intimated at least 12 hrs in advance.

“Pilots are advised to report sick if they are fatigued or stressed and follow the laid-down sick report and fit report procedures,” it said in the directives.

The association has also asked its members not to give consent for any exemption to the DGCA-mandated duty hours and rest period norms and also not to perform visual approaches.

“Pilot defect report (PDR or flight report book) will be signed only after all cargo doors are closed and ensuring proper closure of doors by personally carrying out external walk around,” the ICPA said.

“All defects to be positively written in PDR and cleared on MEL (minimum equipment list). The defect is to be mentioned in the PDR and accept the aircraft only if it is a go item as per the MEL,” the directives added.

The association has also directed its members not to attend/reply to any mode of communication from the management during weekly rest, among others.

The anomaly

Woes seem to continue for Air India as it has been found paying salary to at least one person, who is not on the rolls, although the cash-strapped carrier has failed to clear the dues to its employees.

A case has been detected in the airline, where Air India was paying salaries to a senior pilot, who is on deputation to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) as a senior flight operations inspector and receives salaries from the aviation regulator as well. The pilot is on deputation for about two years.

A media house reported DGCA chief BS Bhullar as saying the carrier should look into the matter if it has disbursed extra.

“As far as DGCA is concerned, it pays employees as per the financial framework of the government. If AI has disbursed more than allowed, it is for them to correct it. We’ll look into our domain and ensure it is as per our financial framework,” he had said.

Start investigation
Alleging that Air India’s move to shift exclusively to a single global distribution service (GDS) platform ‘smacks of mala fides, irrationality and arbitrariness’, travel industry bodies TAAI and TAFI have asked the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) to immediately stay the implementation of the airline’s decision and investigate the matter.

In their letter, the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) and Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) have asked T M Bhasin, Vigilance Commissioner, CVC, to “investigate the illegal appointment of TravelPort as the exclusive GDS partner of Air India’ because ‘to award such a contract without…following mandatory procedure destroyed transparency and fairness”.

The letter has also been marked to Air India’s Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) Aditya K Joshi.

In October last year, UK-based firm TravelPort bagged the contract for Air India’s domestic ticket distribution services replacing Amadeus. After Travelport come into play, the national carrier removed its inventory from the Amadeus network on 4 December last year.

NT Bureau