Air India sends termination letters to 48 pilots

File photo of Air India planes are parked at the IGI airport in New Delhi.   | Photo Credit: PTI


Air India has served termination letters to 48 pilots, weeks after the airline asserted on social media that no employees would be laid off.

It is reliably learnt that Air India tendered termination letters to several pilots on Thursday evening.

The termination comes into immediate effect and “you will stand released from the services of the company w.e.f close of office of August 13,” the carrier has said. A copy of one such letter was reviewed by The Hindu.

Pilots have been given an equivalent of one month’s salary, according to sources.

“You would appreciate that the Company is already severely strained financially. Further, the global pandemic COVID-19 has resulted in extraordinary and exceptional circumstances by gravely reducing the commercial functioning of the company leading to redundancies. The company is incurring huge net losses and doesn’t have the financial ability to pay,” the letter informed the pilots.

In some cases these letters informed employees that an earlier resignation offered by them in 2019, but later withdrawn, was being accepted by the company even though the revocation of the resignation letter was okayed by the airline.

In other cases, the pilots had submitted their resignation letters six months back, but their resignations had not been accepted by the Chairman and Managing Director.

On July 23, following a high-level meeting, Air India had announced on Twitter, “unlike other carriers which have laid off large number of their employees, no employee of Air India will be laid off”.

The move comes at a time the government’s second attempt to privatise the carrier is underway, and the deadline for submission of Expression of Interest by bidders has been extended to August 31.

Air India responds:

"The fact of the matter is that these pilots (57 in number), seeking greener pastures, had resigned from the services of Air India citing financial constraints. The pilots include permanent and contractual ones. Some of the pilots later on had withdrawn their resignations. Air India no longer requires the services of these pilots and has now accepted their resignations. Moreover, some of these pilots (14) have filed Writ Petitions before Delhi High Court seeking a direction to Air India to accept the withdrawal of their resignations. This matter is subjudice."

This article has been updated to add the response from Air India.

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Printable version | Apr 16, 2021 11:00:49 PM |

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