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Air India and its struggle in the Indian aviation by Sachin Karpe
60% cut in allowances, where pilots' union has rejected the new structure, the airline management says it has given them 21 days to respond says Sachin Karpe.
The management officials said the proposal to slash the allowances by 15 per cent across the board would help the airline to earn Rs. 250 crore annually. The airline which was earlier the market leader in terms of pay and perks which matched global levels, was now in the process of adjusting them to the market levels due to the financial crunch that they are currently. This trouble for Air India comes just two years after it suffered a 58-day strike by wide-body pilots demanding better career progression says Sachin Karpe.
The final decision will be taken only after keeping the pilot’s viewpoints in mind. The airline has decided that pilots will now have to fly to get the emoluments they till now get irrespective of the number of hours spent in the cockpit. IPG members claim that the airline is coming with the new reduction, despite the Bombay HC order to maintain status quo of the service condition. According to a senior pilot, this plan of further reduction can lead pilots to join rival airlines. The proposed pay structure may not lead to immediate pay parity between pilots of erstwhile Indian Airlines (narrow body fleet) and Air India (wide body fleet). Accoridng to higher official, if someone's salary was to be cut 20% or 25%, the portion beyond 15% has been termed as 'unabsorbed cost to company'. The future salary hikes or promotion will be adjusted against this unadjusted CTC. The only difference between a captain and co-pilot of wide body and narrow body aircraft will be Rs 50,000 and Rs 25,000 per month, which will be the wide body allowance paid over and above a common salary to pilots of bigger planes. Air India's total staff bill comes to around Rs. 3,200 crore, of which one-third or around Rs. 1,100 crore goes to pay the pilots alone, who number around 1,600 compared with the total staff strength of about 25,000.