The Telegraph
Thursday , May 31 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
CIMA Gallary

AI pilots face the heat

New Delhi, May 30: The directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) is planning to take severe action against the Air India pilots, whose strike entered the 23rd day. The Air India management had proposed cancelling the licences of 11 members of the Indian Pilots Guild, but the aviation regulator plans to crack down on many more pilots.

According to sources, the DGCA is taking legal advice on what actions can be taken.

Sources said the DGCA was planning to book more pilots for causing inconvenience to passengers and massive losses to the airline.

Both the Delhi and Bombay high courts have termed the strike illegal and ordered the pilots to get back to work soon.

According to DGCA officials, they have a list of around 200 pilots whom they can suspend or whose licences can be cancelled. “They have not paid heed to the orders of the courts, requests of Air India and also our show cause notices. They cannot have a free run at the expense of passengers and tax payers’ money. Not only IPG members, we are now planning to prosecute other pilots taking part in the strike. Strict action needs to be taken to make them understand that they cannot hold the country at ransom,” said a senior DGCA official.

Civil aviation ministry officials said all talks with the pilots had been fruitless. “We have tried to negotiate with the pilots but they do not seem to be backing down. Even assurances have been given to them that no action would be taken,” said a ministry official.

The striking pilots suffered another blow today with the Delhi high court holding that the protesters’ view on the training in Boeing 787s will be heard only after they call off their agitation.

“Let them call off the strike, we will then hear the matter,” a bench of acting Chief Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said.