Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Air India pilot unions object to ‘threats of appropriate measures’ for sick reporting


Mumbai: Pilot unions at Air India expressed “concern” over the Tata Group-owned airline’s alleged threat to the cockpit staff with “appropriate measures” if pilots report sick for duty.

In a communication to Air India senior vice president for flight operations Manish Uppal, Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) and Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) said that reporting illnesses without the “fear of reprisal” is in the interest of flight safety.

IPG is the wide-body aircraft pilots’ body at Air India while ICPA represents pilots who fly narrow-body Airbus 320 family aircraft of the full-service carrier.

The copies of the letter have also been marked to Air India Chairman N Chandrasekaran, DGCA Vikram Dev Dutt, Air India Managing Director and CEO Campbell Wilson, among others.

“We are writing to express our concern and objection regarding recent communications implying threats of appropriate measures for sick reporting,” the pilot bodies said in the communication.

Stating that the IPG-ICPA understand the importance of maintaining a productive and efficient work environment, the two unions said, “It is crucial to acknowledge the significance of pilot’s health and its cascading effect on flight safety.”                There may be instances where pilots feel “intimidated” or “compelled” to operate flights despite their health concerns, potentially jeopardizing the safety of the flight, the letter warned.

“Threatening employees for reporting sickness not only violates ethical principles but also goes against the Aircraft Rules Act, 1937,” they said in the communication.

The DGCA places a high priority on safety, the physical and mental health of pilots of utmost importance, the letter stated, adding, “pilots should feel comfortable reporting illnesses without the fear of reprisal in the interest of flight safety.”


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