Monday, May 28, 2012

Details of Air India Board Meeting on 28th May

The board of national carrier Air India met on Monday to discuss the standoff between the airline management and pilots who have been on strike for the last 21 days, forcing the airline to curtail some of its international operations. Here are the top 10 developments.

• The Board has said that compensation from Boeing must be finalised before the company takes delivery of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The first Boeing 787 Dreamliner is scheduled for delivery in the first week of June 2012.
The Board also discussed of the status of the pilots’ strike and was informed about the contingency schedule and the current situation. While a section of the pilots’ union has gone on strike, the carrier has retaliated by firing over 100 pilots.

• The pilots 21-day old strike has forced the management to activate a so-called ‘contingency schedule’. The new schedule is operational until June 1. As part of it, the airline has reduced flights to some international destinations, and is clubbing flights to Europe and the US together.

• Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh, who met a group of protesting pilots on May 25, has reportedly told them that the mounting losses due to the agitation may make it difficult for the airline to pay the wage arrears to all employees by June as promised. The pilots’ strike has so far resulted in a loss of about Rs325 crore for the debt-strapped carrier, Air India officials have said.

• Singh has also said that the carrier is not averse to hiring new pilots if IPG members continue with their strike. "We can think of hiring new pilots," he told a group of pilots meeting with him.

• Last week, Air India also filed a contempt petition against the striking pilots in the Delhi High Court, with the government again terming their protest illegal and blaming the agitators for not coming to the negotiating table. Earlier, the court had held the strike illegal. On May 17, the Delhi High Court asked the striking Air India pilots to call off their agitation immediately or face contempt action. The two-judge bench also dismissed a plea by them challenging an earlier order by a single judge holding the strike illegal.

• The Air India management has also derecognized the union, and a Mumbai High Court bench has dismissed a petition challenging that decision. "You (IPG) may have problems but first comply with the Delhi High Court order. Then you can go sort out your issues. You cannot harass the general public like this," a vacation bench of justices S J Kathawala and P D Kode said while hearing the IPG petition.

• Singh has asked pilots to return to work and discuss the problems with the he government, and that the ministry will not victimise the pilots. “But it is not possible by creating loss or causing inconvenience to the passengers,” he has said, adding that the government will sort out all problems in three months. 

• The IPG, comprising mostly pilots that fly international routes, is protesting management's decision to let erstwhile Indian Airlines’ pilots to train on advanced Boeing 787 aircraft. It has that pilots from the erstwhile domestic carrier not be allowed to train on the wide-bodied aircraft until a comprehensive career progression policy was put in place

• The Air India board has not been strengthened following a couple of high profile non-executive departures last year, a report from the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation(CAPA) said last week. A key concern is that the management at Air India could be set for change at the most senior levels, including the position of chairman and managing director of the board, the report said, adding that the new team could be faced with a complex situation. The CAPA report has warned of a temporary shutdown of the airline. Singh has also hinted at such a situation. “If the airline does not survive then there is no meaning of other things like salary, promotion or increment," he said last week.

(Source : NDTV Profit With inputs from PTI)

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