The Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (ICPA), which represents 560 Air India line pilots has threatened to go on an agitation protesting what it calls “partiality or discrimination” against one of its members, vis-À-vis an executive or managerial pilot.
In a letter dated February 26 and addressed to Air India’s Executive Director (Operations), the ICPA has cited the case of Atulya Kumar, Deputy General Manager, Eastern Region who according to the ICPA had “refused to operate a schedule flight which he was rostered to operate.”
The ICPA letter states that the incident (on February 23 during a Kolkata-Dimapur flight) caused inconvenience to other operating and roster personnel.” It further states that this is “not the first instance where this particular pilot has conducted himself in an irresponsible manner.”
Drawing a parallel between Capt. Kumar’s case where the Air India management, the ICPA claims chose to take no action, and the case of one of its (ICPA) own members – Capt. J. David Ravi - whose services were terminated for not operating a flight, the ICPA is crying foul, terming it as “partiality and discrimination against its member.”
Though the ICPA acknowledges that the Air India management did conduct an inquiry into the Capt. Atulya Kumar incident and punished the pilot by keeping him off from flying duties for three days, it says that it is not satisfied.
Explained one of the ICPA office bearers: “When one of our members [Capt. Ravi] was terminated for not operating a flight because of non-serviceable toilets on an A320 aircraft, how can we accept such a light punishment for a pilot from the executive cadre who after all should be more responsible since he is from the managerial ranks?”
States the ICPA letter: “It is our demand that no partiality or discrimination is shown between a line pilot and a pilot of the executive cadre.” Marking a copy of the letter to Air India’s Chairman and Managing Director the ICPA says that if no remedial action is taken they will be forced to call for industrial action.
Pilots owing allegiance to the ICPA are from the erstwhile Indian Airlines and mostly fly Air India’s domestic routes.