Under pressure from its Indian pilots’ unions, Air India is understood to have proposed a 10 per cent cut in the salaries of about 150 expat pilots currently on its rolls.

“The management has proposed a 10 per cent reduction in the salaries of expat pilots,” sources familiar with the development said weeks after pilots’ unions demanded compatibility between their pay package and that of foreign pilots. In addition, the management is also considering slashing their bonuses by 50 per cent and stopping reimbursement of their travelling allowances, sources said.

Currently, around 810 expat pilots are employed by five airlines — Air India, Jet Airways, Kingfisher Airlines, IndiGo and SpiceJet. Air India alone has around 153 pilots, besides 1,253 Indian pilots and about 200 trainees.

A major demand of the Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association and the Indian Pilots’ Guild, which have gone on strike in the past, has been to curtail packages offered to expat pilots as a cost-cutting measure.

“Air India has plans to implement the proposal from January and has written to various international pilots recruitment agencies.” But agencies have sought some time as they want to consult with these pilots before accepting or rejecting the proposal, sources said.

In response to a right to information (RTI) application, the National Aviation Company of India Ltd. (NACIL) had said it paid Rs.93.29 crore towards salaries and expenses to agencies which provided expatriate pilots to Air India and Air-India Express in the last fiscal.

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