View Full Version : Air India Pilots refuse to operate flights due to SARS

27th Apr 2003, 07:11
This is not a joke!
Taken from www.ndtv.com (an indian news site)

Air India talks fail, Govt suspends 12 pilots

NDTV Correspondent

Saturday, April 26, 2003 (Mumbai):

Taking a tough stand, the government today decided to place 12 Air India pilots under suspension after the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) refused to withdraw the directives for operating in SARS affected areas.

"We have no other option but to adopt this measure as we cannot allow any employee to hold the airline and the public to ransom," said Jitendra Bhargava, Air India Director, Public Relations.

More than 50 pilots have been served with letters for their refusal to operate flights to Singapore, Hong Kong and Kuwait and will face disciplinary actions.

Asked if disciplinary action has been contemplated against IPG president Capt Kenneth Khan, who had declined to operate the London-Mumbai flight yesterday, or any other officer bearers, Bhargava said "action will be taken against all who refuse to operate flights, demanding a certificate".

Contingency plan

Due to the continuing standoff, Air India has decided to put the contingency plan in operation.

According to reports, the airline will operate 22 flights from midnight till 10 pm (IST) tomorrow.

"The changes effected in flight schedule include operations of flights to London directly from Mumbai instead of routing them via Delhi as is done for some of the London-New York and London-Frankfurt flights", Air India said in a release here today.

The passengers, who have booked to travel to London, New York and Frankfurt from Delhi, should contact the airport for the revised schedule, the release said.

Theses changes have been effected to ensure optimal utilisation of executive pilots so that schedule of services operated with Boeing 747-400 and 747-300 aircraft is not affected.

Some of the flights which have been revised are AI-112A Mumbai-Delhi, AI-1866 Mumbai-Kochi, AI-620 Mumbai-Bangalore, AI-725 Mumbai-Abu Dhabi, AI-600 Mumbai-Hyderabad.

The others are AI-111 Mumbai-London-New York, AI-145 Mumbai-Paris-Newark, AI-165 Mumbai-Frankfurt, AI-827 Mumbai-Riyadh, AI-853 Mumbai-Kuwait, AI-400 Mumbai-Chennai-Singapore, AI-963 Mumbai- Kozhikode-Jeddah, AI-125 Mumbai-London-Chicago, AI-729 Mumbai-Delhi-Muscat-Abu Dhabi, AI 821-Mumbai-Riyadh.

Defiant pilots

After talks with senior Civil Aviation Ministry officials, the IPG said they would not operate flights to SARS affected regions unless AI provided a certificate that the accompanying crew had not travelled to these regions in the last 10 days.

"Such a certificate has been given for some flights so I do not see why it could not be extended to all flights", IPG general secretary Capt Vikrant Sansare told reporters after its managing committee meeting in Mumbai.

"We have also sought an appointment with Union Health Minister Sushma Swaraj and if satisfied with the health enforcement procedures to prevent SARS infection amongst the crew, we will consider withdrawal of the directives," he said.

The deadlock means that flights will be affected. Air India admits that upto 50 per cent of their flights to South East Asia will be hit though they insist that flights to Europe and America will not be affected.
(With PTI inputs)


Notso Fantastic
27th Apr 2003, 07:18
You've reported that as from ndtv.com. The comments at the end are, presumably, added by yourself, and it is not immediately apparent. Unfortunately it seems a little unfair to add such personal comments when the pilots concerned have been given no chance to put their case. I suppose one could say pilots are used to being blamed for everything, even when they are killed in accidents, but to report a news item like this and insinuate your personal oppinions is unfair. Why don't you just stick to reporting the news item with any explanatory illuminations without beating your own personal drum (if I have read your post right)?

27th Apr 2003, 07:43
Not so fantastic
Fair enough and I have removed my comments. But any close observer of Air India and Indian Airlines pilot managment relationships might agree that in many cases the pilots actions in many cases appear to defy logic. Do also keep in mind that India is not a yet a fully deregulated aviation market and with Air india carrying a lions share of international passengers any major disruption can cause severe inconvenience to the ordinary public.Also you may find it unbeleivable but apparently basic things in the western world like "trip cancellation insurance" are all virtually unheard of India and air passenger rights/denied boarding compensation etc pathetic! So if you have felt I have beaten my "own personal drum" it is from years of experience as a keen obesever of the Indian air travel industry, a market which is still very much a closed market and although big doesnt attract much attention anywhere!
That said, I take your point and have edited my comments and will wait till any more involved persons (I am not involved with Air India in any capacity by the way) put forward their views in this discussion


Yet another report
from http://www.keral.com/nrinews/index.htm#7

Air-India (AI) operations from the Cochin International Airport were severely hit on Friday following an agitation by the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG), demanding a certificate from the airlines that the accompanying crew had not flown into SARS-affected regions during the last 10 days.

Several flights took off hours behind schedule after the airlines worked out a contingency plan to face the situation. The services that were delayed by more than two hours were AI 935 Kochi-Dubai, AI 943 Kochi-Thiruvananthapuram-Muscat and AI 947 Kochi-Muscat-Abu Dhabi.

The airport witnessed tense moments earlier in the day when passengers of AI 943 staged an onboard gherao preventing the AI crew from disembarking after they were informed of the delay.

The pilot who was to take over from the crew who brought the aircraft to Kochi from Alain, UAE, walked away after the AI management refused to certify that the accompanying crew had not flown to SARS-hit countries in the preceding 10 days.

Following this, a pilot in the management cadre had to be summoned to fly the passengers to Thiruvananthapuram and to Muscat. “We're managing the show with executive pilots who are in the management cadre. Though IPG-affiliated pilots are reporting for duty, they simply walk out of the operations room the moment we reject their demand for a certificate,” an official said.

Alleging that there was a ‘hidden agenda’ behind the agitation, the official pointed out that official airlines of SARS-hit countries were still operating. “They have cut down frequencies due to the load factor. But the crew is fully co-operating,” the official pointed out.

The agitation, meanwhile, has hit the AI's 310 fleet. The AI has taken an aircraft on loan from the Indian Airlines to ferry US and Europe-bound passengers from Kochi to Mumbai on Saturday.

The airlines has also set up a monitoring cell with its executive head Capt P G Sudhakaran, airport manager Micheal Joseph, Kochi manager KM Kurien as members. The cell, with a view to minimising inconvenience to passengers, will co-ordinate flight plans including diversion to Kochi from other stations.



27th Apr 2003, 11:29
This is the best time AirIndia can set their house in order...Should close the Airline and Let every one join on contracts. Having said that it applies for all the employees in AI as the whole lot need to wake up or else its bad news .....
Suffered enough

27th Apr 2003, 13:56
Closing the airline is not a viable option. It would only add to the confusion and the only sufferers would be travelling public and the employees and of course the exchequer. The very limited international aviation presence India has would be eroded. No point "re inventing the wheel". It would be more appropriate that the government addresses the issue carefully and instead of denying the existence of the threat- accept it and take precautionary measures.

Also to increase the international presence - they should allow private domestic airlines to go international instead of trying to use "license raj" to prevent competition for its loss making public sector units. Although I hasten to add - that I for one will probably suffer from this move, but recognise the inevitability of it. How come Indian Air Lines is not having the same problems when they are operating on similar SARS affected routes? Because of the possibility that private operators would usurp their market image which is already staggering under huge losses!:( :hmm:

27th Apr 2003, 15:43
Are Cochin, Kochi and Goa the same airport/area?


27th Apr 2003, 15:54

Cochin and Kochi are two cities on the Kerala coast which is on the western coast of South India- and Goa is between Cochin and Bombay (Mumbai). It has an airport on the western sea board called Dabolim. "All three are beautiful places to see with lovely beaches- no sales pitch I promise!

Hope this helps.

27th Apr 2003, 16:07
It does, thanks very much.


27th Apr 2003, 17:35
Rather than discussing shutting down the airline and the Indian aviation industry in general, why don’t we stick to the "actual" problem?

SARS exists, so much so that some airlines have stopped ALL flights to Singapore and started giving facemasks to crews on most other Asian routes. Air India continued to operate the route.

The Indian Pilot Guild (IPG) decided to protect their members and stopped them from flying to Singapore. Non-union management pilots then operated these flights.

Stage 2 for the IPG came in to effect last Wednesday, they advised all CAPTAINS to check to see if any of their crew/cabin crew had operated services to SARS areas in the past 10 days, if so, they were to offload the crewmember and bring in a standby.

I happen to know the first guy who was faced with this instruction. He showed up for his flight and was confronted by airline management and union management; he had already lost his first option by "Not going sick"... so he was left with two other options:

1: Fly the flight and suffer the wrath of the union.
2: Not fly the flight and suffer the wrath of the airline management.

I know which option he took, but put yourself in the same situation and which option would you take????


Jetstream Rider
27th Apr 2003, 18:07
Lets just look at a couple of facts.

How many of you guys don't take Malaria tablets when you go to a Malarial country? Malaria kills a higher percentage of sufferrers than SARS and kills 1600 people PER DAY, EVERY DAY. That, at the moment is much more deadly and much more likely than catching a dose of SARS. I agree that SARS needs to be contained before it becomes a major epidemic/pandemic, but there are plenty of things that are worse at the moment.

Face masks do next to nothing, a virus will pass straight through them and it is more a politeness in Eastern countries then a preventative. Washing your hands and being generally clean is a lot more important than using a mask.

I do not support or condemn the guys in the union or Air India as I have no idea what the real circumstances are, but the above is a couple of things to try and put SARS in perspective. I am not saying do nothing, but I do suggest that the media are hyping it a lot and this is having a huge knock on affect.

27th Apr 2003, 18:41
Some points you may not be aware of.
The IPG also deos not want to operate flights to Kuwait.Why?
"Security situation in the middle east". That too at a time when every other airline has resumed services. These and SARS aree two different issues.

Second point, it is not just the crew alone, but also any aircraft which operates into the SARS region in the past 10 days.

Now what does this mean. Air India is primnarily a two a/c type operation. They have about 8 (if my memory serves correct) 747-400 plus a couple of 300 combis and one or two classics. Now the 747-400s are mostly used in the routes to US (EWR/JFK and ORD) as well as the ones to FRA/LON terminators. So these aircraft are generally not affected (the cabin crew on a JFK leg generally go on a 10 to 12 day duty schedule).

The remaining are about 15+ A310s. Now this is the workhorse of the fleet operating not just to the so called SARS regions (HKG/SIN/BKK/KUL) but also the same aircraft are used on flights to the middle east where Air India has an extenisve network.

Now coming back to the real situation. The US/ Europe routes on AI has been loss making or at best break even for years! So the very flights the IPG iis ordinarilly willing to undertake is not the one which is giving revenue for the company.

The routes which AI make money are the middle east routes most of which are operated by the A310s. Unfortunately these are the routes which IPG by its directive end up not operating because many of the aircraft/crew are also operated to SIN/BKK routes. So what happens, the routes where AI makes money end up not being operated, not to speak of inconveniencing thousands of passengers, most of them poor expatriate workers trying to go back to their companies after taking a vaction one/two/three years away from their families and who loose their jobs if they dont report back on time (and who earn even in the middle east one tenth of the salary IPG members make). I am not speaking of the well of expatriate Indians in the middle East which I know there are a few, but the ordinary taxi driver/gardner/driver who slog it out there to make a hard earned living.

As JagBag pointed out how come Indian Airlines pilots who also operates to SIN/BKK and KUL as well as KWI does not have any of the problems and apply the same yardsticks the AI pilots face with? The answer again as JetBag points out lies in the fact that IA pilots know that if they do the same , they will just end up giving the market to the private sector Jet and Sahara who have something like 50 aircraft between them for the domestic routes and will make use of the windfall. While the IPG knows that the government and AI is at their mercy with not many alternatives since international flights are tightly regulated into India and capacity is limited.

Just like the domestic aviation industry in India got a big boost thanks to another of these misguided industrial action by the Indian Airliens pilots sone years back when the government at the time was finally pressured into allowing private players in the industry, it is high time that the government puts an end to Air India pilots holding the country to ransom by opening up the international aviation sector by allowing more flights to India by foreign carries by liberalising the restrictive air services agreements as well as allowing private carriers to operate International services.


27th Apr 2003, 20:25
hey........there jus seems to be too many assumptions and presumptions here......why dont we all jus stick to the basic principles here. First of all i wish to understand what is the "hidden" agenda here of the IPG? Some of us work in countries and companies where there is no option of forming unions forget joining them........employees choose to be part of unions understanding that it is for their protection and benifit. And if a union issues a directive, primarily i would presume it is for the benefit of its members.....now coming back to the entire pallava about how this affects the passengers and the flights and the "poor" gulf labour load and all da jazzz.......frankly lets just keep that issue aside for the moment and deal wit it in another forum.......what we talking about here is the merits of this directive.......if at all is any......As a part of the aviation industry most of us will agree that the SARS issue is something that effects each one us frontline employees directly. As far as i understand AI management has not come up with any directives or protection of its frontline employees against the exposure to this fatal disease. So here we have a cockpit crew union having issued a directive enables them to verify whether any of their cabin crew has flown to singapore in the past ten days and off schedin them if this being the case and replaced.........now did the directive state that if any member of the crew has to flown to singapore at all then they would never fly again with them?????? 10 days is a safe quarantine period that minimises the risks of the rest of the crew of contracting anything...........now what is wrong with that? The cabin crews are multi aircraft qualified and fly to various destinations exposing them to all kinds of passsengers whereas you have cockpit crew members that are single aircraft qualified flying to limited destinations and their primary contact on board the aircraft are not the passengers but the cabin crew. Now what is wrong with the union taking the initiative to protect its members where the management has failed to do so? Sars is not an issue that should be taken lightly just because it has not happened to someone you know.......... it is a worldwide increasing epidemic that should be of paramount concern to anyone working in the travel industry. The fact that this matter with Air India is a now a full blown war between the management and the union totally defeats the purpose of this directive in the first place. What i understand is that in Air India you choose to be a member of the union IPG and if not does not mean that you automatically become a part of the management. The executive pilots who are a part of the management have been asked to become members of the management at the managements discretion when they see it as fit..........in the meantime if you are not a member of either you have no protection anyway.......also understand that the IPG pilot members have not refused to fly at all...........they have jus not been allowed to follow a directive that protects them and thereby been stopped from flyin and further suspended by the management. So now step in the executive (management member) pilots who are required to cover the open slots through no choice of theirs with nothing protecting them merely following the orders of the management..............The final authority on board the aircraft rests with the pilot in command as does the ultimate responsibility should anything go wrong. I personally dont see anything wrong with the pilots making the effort that would minimise the risks of contracting sars amongst its crew members and through the chain of contact also be protecting the "poor" passengers from being exposed from it.

Now does this sound too idealistic to any of you?

27th Apr 2003, 20:48
Yes it sounds too idealistic
Now what is the gurantee that the receptionist in the hotel which the SARS conscious AI pilot checks in or the waiter who serves him in the restuarant on his New York layover after a "SARS free" aircraft wasnt holidiyaing in Toronto two days before , a place where there is much disputed "World Health Organisation " advisory in place.

As for the "poor gulf labour and all da jazz", it may not mean anything to you, but it does for me seeing quite a few people loose their jobs and family going into poverty just because of the actions of a minority whose actions doesnt seem to make any sense to most of their fellow contry men. In case you dont know, AI fills most of its planes (and makes their money ) form their middle east routes not wilth PLATINUM frequent flyers but people like those who you have just rubbished flying to and from work slogging it out like you and I never will.

Sorry if I am being outspoken but the facts are facts whether it is unpaltable or not! If I seem to be exagerrating, check with any impartial obsever of the Indian civil aviation scene who will tell you pretty much the same thing.

27th Apr 2003, 22:14

Tiba is extremely familiar with the passengers who fly between India and the Gulf, but as he said that discussion is for a different topic. This discussion was about the pilots right to protect themselves, a right which you obviously disagree with!


27th Apr 2003, 23:05
Am I missing something here! On one hand I hear of atleast one airline in an affcted country being faced with a situation that passengers are not willing to fly into/through the country and hence may even result in temporary closure of the airline.

On the otherhand you have an airline where the pilots are forcing the airline into the red although you have passengers!

I will agree with your view as well as Tibas that "This discussion was about the pilots right to protect themselves, a right which you obviously disagree " if you can come up with facts which prove that other airlines are providing their piolts with "protective measures" against SARS which Air India is apparently failing its own pilots to do?

Also as asked before by me and Jagbag, why is it that another government owned airline with an equally strong union flying to many of the SARs affected areas (as the IPG claims) like SIN and BKK, Indian Airlines are not bothered?

Also even more interesting, Air India does not even fly into two of the three countries with the largest numbers of SARS deaths, China and Canada. Hong Kong , yes, but you might be interested to note that Air India was operating the HKG flights for a few days before this "increased SARS awareness camapign" with management pilots anyway.

Interesting that while on one hand people speak about "hard times in the industry with passengers keeing away from flying" there are some others whose aim seems to be to bring their employers as well as themselves to the path of self destruction!

27th Apr 2003, 23:16

first of all i would like to clarify that i did not in any fashion mean to be derogatory about using a figure of speech toward the passengers.......so lets get that misunderstanding out of the way. As far as you championing the cause of the gulf load of passengers is highly commendable but not relevant to this discussion at all. In fact please do start another thread which is specifically pertaining to it and i will gladly participate. I am interested in your input regarding any specific information you may know of or have regarding this dispute.

Since you obviously do not agree with this what according to you are the alternatives???? We are specifically talking about an airline company and how it protects its employees from conditions that directly affect them. Obviously there is no guarantee to anything here from the hotel receptionist ............etc etc.....here we look at the an individuals responsibility in protecting themselves...........lets not even start involving ourselves with absurdities now.

You obviously have reasons to believe that this is wrong.......do have any particular personal reasons for this? Any grouse with the ineffectiveness of unions that you would like to share with us or is this the extent of your objectivity?

28th Apr 2003, 02:45
May be reading this will make things clearer
fromm www.rediff.com
Air-India on Sunday suspended 15 more agitating pilots for refusing to operate and abandoning flights at various destinations in view of the SARS outbreak, taking the total number of suspensions so far to 27.

The suspension is with immediate effect pending an inquiry into their conduct, A-I sources in Mumbai said.

A-I had on Saturday suspended 12 pilots for refusing to operate flights at New York, Paris and Mumbai over the past few days.

The Indian Pilot Guild's 200 members went on a strike after refusing to fly to SARS-hit areas unless the management certified that the crew had not visited a SARS-hit area in the last 10 days.

***But there are indications that the pilots are also demanding additional pay.****

Toughening its stand against striking A-I pilots, the government on Sunday asked them to withdraw their stir unconditionally and said action would be taken against all those who refuse to fly.

"The government is quite determined that they (striking pilots) withdraw their instructions unconditionally and fly," Civil Aviation Secretary and Air India chairman K Roy Paul told a TV channel in Delhi.

All their demands would be considered only after they withdrew their strike, he said.

He said the demand of health certificates for co-crew members was not negotiable. "It is absurd, illogical and irrational."

According to A-I sources, a total of 56 pilots owing allegiance to the Indian Pilots Guild are facing disciplinary action.

Meanwhile, A-I is taking on contract some retired pilots, who still hold valid licenses, to augment the strength of its executive pilots, who number around 160.

"We have identified five retired commanders -- four for Boeing 747 and one for Airbus 310 -- so far and are issuing them letters to take them on contract subject to them being medically fit," an A-I spokesperson said in Mumbai.

They would undergo the necessary simulator training and flight checks before being deployed on flights, he said.

At the same time, the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has relaxed for A-I pilots flying time and duty time limitations (FDTL) by one and two hours, respectively as a special case in view of the present situation.

The regulatory body has told A-I that the extra flying time from nine to 10 hours and duty time from 12 to 14 hours has been allowed provided there is pro-rata increase in the rest period.

This step has invited strong protests from the IPG, which said it would challenge the order in the Mumbai High Court on Monday.

Stating that the DGCA order will enable A-I optimum utilisation of pilots, the A-I spokesman said, "This (going to the court) is understandable as all actions of the IPG are aimed at disrupting flight schedules. They must realise that A-I is equally determined to foil their attempts and keep the services going."

Reacting to IPG's assertion that they had not put forward any financial demand, the spokesman in Mumbai said, "We would like a written communication from the guild that they have no such demand and that they are willing to undergo CAT III training. This is the minimum they can do to prove their point."

The spokesman had on Saturday said that the IPG was demanding $35 per hour flying allowance for all pilots in view of the CAT III landing instrument installed in Delhi, irrespective of whether they fly to Delhi or not.



28th Apr 2003, 05:24
Yeah what is the ulterior motive ???

Just because an airline is making a profit while others are struggling doesn't mean it should disregard the safety of its crew , whats more important your health or money ?

28th Apr 2003, 06:18
So are you suggesting that British Airways and Singapore Airlines as well as all the others who are flying to SARS areas are having special protection measures for the crews while AI is refusing to do so?
I may not know much of flight crewing limitations but insisting that any aircraft/crew be quarantined for 10 days before you operate the flight isn't it asking for too much (even with the overstaffing Air India is having).

Incidentally the Air india Cabin crew who also seem to be concerned appear to have no such demands, especially considering the fact that they are equally exposed to SARS?

Please enlighten me!


28th Apr 2003, 18:42
Guess you don't know the facts but the directive does not state that the aircraft should be quarantined for 10 days , but only the cabin or cockpit crew . I managed to get hold of a copy of the directive thanks to a journalist friend of mine .

As for the cabin crew their union is too weak to take on the management . The cabin crew has 2-3 different unions , one representing the male flight attendants , the second representing the female flight attendants & still one more representing the older female flight attendants who recently fought for their retirement age to be extended to 58 & won . Also none of them are license holders so if they go on strike etc they can be easily replaced by any one who just has to undergo a very basic training in flight safety & inflight service . This has been done before . In the late 80's(if i remember correctly) the cabin crew had gone on strike & they were replaced with people from other departments & various catering colleges .

28th Apr 2003, 19:25
No I havent seen the circular. But two questions.
1, Is a ten day quaurantine realistic with AI operating as many flights athey do to these regions?
2, Since you seem to have some idea about the sitation in AI, do you honestly believe , looking into the history of their labour disputes over the last 30 years, that health considerations is their only motive?

Anyway all I can hope for is that government will make use of this oportunity to throw open the Indian skies to foreign air carriers/private airlines like they did for domestic aviation some years back to the benefit of both Indian Airlines as well as the domestic passengers.

Hidden agenda no? But then I still dont know the protective measures as I said earlier wich all other airlines are doing to protect their employers from SARS which AI is apparently failing to do to their own pilots!

And no, before sone one accuses me, I am not an AI management stooge but just someone who is aware of things happening in the country and fed up! It all fashionable to blast the "lousy inefficient managements" but sometimes the employees never give them a chance!

28th Apr 2003, 22:07
About 10 days back i travelled on airindia from singapore to new delhi . tere were only 40-50 of us passengers on board . Chatting with the cabin crew i was shocked to learn that they have been given no instructions etc by the management on handling passengers or crew affected with the SARS virus . All they have is your basic cloth face mask & no gloves . These also sometimes or not enough for all the crew members on board or at times not available at all . the cabin crew can do nothing but send written reports to the management who do nothing or at best do very little about it . the cabin crew can't refuse flights as they will face the wrath of the management who can suspend them or keep them off the roster for some time . I didn't get a chance to chat with the pilots as passengers are not alowed into the cockpit for security reasons .

Landing into Delhi at around 6pm IST we passengers were greeted at the immigration hall with a huge sign saying "SARS control counter" . in this counter were 4 uniformed men wearing face masks , fast asleep . This is the way the airport authorities are dealing with the SARS virus in most indian airports . No one seems to be taking the virus seriously . How many more deaths do we need before the authorities will finally wake up n realise that something has to be about this ?????

28th Apr 2003, 22:30

In this thread the term executive pilot comes up often. Am curious

- what is an executive pilot?
- is this common amonst all airlines?

- how do the duties of an executive pilot differ than that of
a 'regular' line pilot

- how many hours do executive pilots get to fly

- how does one become an executive pilot - is it seniority or is
there some other process

29th Apr 2003, 01:32
Youir concerns of SARS monotiring based on your personal experience is understable. But again dont jump into conclusions it is ineffective just because of one personal experience at the DEL airports.
I find it difficult to beleive the sole motive of AI pilots is their concern for the safety , mainly because of their dubious background in any labour relations dispute in the past too and as usual even in this facts are coming out as seen from this post below which point to the fact.

www. ndtv.com


Monday, April 28, 2003 (New Delhi):

As the fight between the government and Air India pilots takes a turn for the worse, officials at the Civil Aviation Ministry have armed themselves with a dossier, which they claim gives the real picture behind the ugly controversy.

Dubbed as the 'unofficial truth' behind the SARS controversy, the report begins by pointing out the absurdity that governs the decision of AI pilots to refuse to fly not just to SARS affected countries but also to Gulf countries.

Hard facts

The report says only three airlines --- Continental Airlines, Air Mauritius and Turkish Airlines have so far discontinued services to Hong Kong and Singapore. But they have done so not due to the fear of SARS but merely due to the low load factor.

Third and perhaps the most controversial clause is the accusation that the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) is using the SARS controversy to extract higher pay packets and sops for themselves.

Extra remuneration!

According to the government, Air India pilots who take home as much as Rs 5 lakh per month are demanding higher pay packets.

They are even demanding extra remuneration of Rs 50,000 a month, to train on the new CAT 3 -- a landing system that helps flights land in zero visibility.

The government also claims that the new committee of the IPG, who took over in January this year, has interfered with the Air India management on at least 14 occasions in the past four months. And in this latest controversy surrounding SARS, the pilots have finally got something substantial to blackmail the management with.

The IPG however has dismissed the charges as baseless.

And as both sides threatening to slug it out in court, the sympathies clearly lie with the thousands of hapless passengers who have been held hostage to the needless controversy.

Also I find hard to believe that if things are so bad regarding SARS in India, the entire medical community is keeping quiet, in a country where freedom of speech and expression spills s out literally to the streets without much provocation!


29th Apr 2003, 04:28
mutt and tiba I agree with most of what you have said.

SARS has killed a few hundred people. A lot less than malaria....but then malaria is an "understood" disease and there are several cures available.
SARS may or may not be as bad as malaria...yet to be seen.
(Just as an observation, this disease seems to be keeping the spotlight off the fact that no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq.)
So why can't pilot protect themselves from a disease that kills or destroys a good part ones lungs??
If the the AI pilots feel they may be affected and killed by SARS, then I feel they have all the right to do what they have to do!
Thay aren't trying to topple the airline , just protecting themselves....surely nothing wrong with that.
I'm sure no intelligent person wants to be killed by a virus that one knows about and does nothing about it.

29th Apr 2003, 06:17
I experienced the same but lesser degree at other airports such as bombay & Cochin . All we were required to do was fill up & submit a form stating that we were not suffering from any fever , cold etc . There was no screening of passengers whatsoever . Now there could be so many of us who are unknowingly carrying the virus . There has to be a better way of doing this .

Its so easy to quote articles from the newspaper , but how much do you really know from other sources ?? Have you spoken to any of the pilots ? I'm sure they deserve to be heard too . But i guess what they say is true- no matter what happens its always the pilots fault !! I happened to meet a pilot who stays in my area & she said that most if not all are worried about bringing the virus home & infecting their children , husbands , wives or other members of the family . So little is know about the virus . Its easy for us to sit in our offices or homes & pass judgement , but what if we had to travel to countries affected with the virus not once but on a regular basis , how easy would that be ??

Yes maybe i'm jumping to conclusions but thats due to what i have experienced , not what i only read in the newspapers . Any journalist would tell you that what ever you read in the papers should be taken with a grain of salt esp if it concerns the government & Air India is a government organisation . Talking about the pilots action being suspect due to their dubious background etc , then what can we say about our government ?

One more thing rsoman ---- how long did it take the government & the medical community to realise that we do have an aids epidemic in this country ?????

29th Apr 2003, 07:43
While not a pilot myself, my views most certainly are NOT just based on newspaper reports alone. It is as from years of experience being involved in this industry in India having a neutral view of things of what is happening. I am also in a much better postion to comment on the medical side of things than you realise.
Let me again state that these same concerns if true should have brought along a similar response from the other government airline involved here, the pilots again heavily unionised, Indian Airlines with their network also having no less than 25 weekly flights to Singapore and 15 flights to Bangkok as well as a daily flight to KUL. Infact this is same or more than the Air India flights to the same destination? Why are they remaining silent or the very least not come out in support of their bretheren in Air India?

Also let me make it very clear that neither do I belong to the government or Air India nor have any vested interest. But there are limits to which the Indian fare paying passenger should be taken for a ride by a few pilots holding them to ransom!.

Also let me ask one more question? To the best of my knowlege, if the screening in Indian airports is so lousy, why is that no foreign airline has stopped services or even stopped their layovers for their crew in Indian cities?Whether it is Delhi or Bombay or Cochin?or Trivandrum?

And let me tell you , while everybody tells about protection being a fundamental right etc etc, nobody has come up here as far as I can see the extra protective measures other airlines are taking which Air India is not including the Air India pilot Union, IPG? Why not? It only helps their position right? I am sure the Indian media will not have any hesitation in publishing the IPGs views as well (the days of Emergency and Presse Censorship has long past gone as you are aware!). Also do you think, how many countries labour laws will just tolerate pilots just walking away from their flights with no apparent legal notice leaving passengers stranded on their whims and fancies!

Yes in India we can get away with anything and we can blame the management and government for everything!

29th Apr 2003, 08:21

Executive pilots are those pilots which are employed by the airline and after a certain period of time are asked to be a part of the management. If they choose to do so then they give up their right to be a part of any union. I really have no idea if it is common to other airlines. Yes they are different from regular pilots in their pay package and other perks. Am uncertain about the hours but in case of a crisis like the one in Air India right now, i believe and this has been reported in the news media that their hours has been extended ie their legality has been relaxed to cover additional 2 hours. How does one become one? As far as i am aware you cannot apply to be one but are asked by the management to join.


Am glad that at least someone here understands a fraction of what i am trying to express.............thanks


First of all my apologies at being unavailable in the past couple of days........this thread seems to get more and more interesting.......and the first question I would like to pose to you is please clarify as to how you think you are in a better position to comment since this would add some credibility to what you are saying. I fail to understand the aggression with which you are attacking the the actions of the IPG and solely laying the blame of this crisis on the pilots.........I for one assumed better perspective from you.............and as to why no other airline has stopped thier flights or layovers in the various cities of India...........well its only a matter of time my friend........the sars toll in this country is climbing and fatalities are only just around the corner. I am begining to find some serious flaws in your one sided observation of this. Since you did start this thread am assuming that you were looking for some healthy debates here but inspite of some highly varied inputs here you have chosen to be singularly closed minded which leads me to believe that you are definitely harbouring some personal grudges here. You keep harping on about other airlines in India specifically Indian airlines which so far according to you have not felt the need to address this issue. So why does Air India? Well why not Air India!!!!! In your case its not a question of blaming the management or the government but ONLY the pilots. Why?

29th Apr 2003, 09:22
Hi Rsoman with your good knowlwdge about the industry how about writing about the Custom and immigration guys , sure every one suffers from them too. As for AI there is just no hope, Country with a huge population and strategic location, flying to from europe, australia and the far east could serve as the best major hub and so much to offer in the country itself and yet what we have is old aging approx 30 aircrafts with no decent inflight sevice, not to mention the sad state of the airports..... sorry its a shame and i see no reason why thing cant be done.
The mind set has to change......... ??

29th Apr 2003, 15:53

nobody has come up here as far as I can see the extra protective measures other airlines are taking which Air India is not including the Air India pilot Union, IPG? Why not?

RIYADH, 16 April 2003 — Saudi Arabian Airlines has indefinitely suspended flights to Singapore over fears of the spread of the deadly Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus, a spokesman said yesterday.

“Saudia has suspended its flights to Singapore because of SARS as of yesterday. The suspension will continue until the World Health Organization (WHO) declares Singapore free of the disease,” the spokesman said. Saudia operates two flights weekly from Jeddah to Singapore.

They also issued facemasks to all passengers to other Asian destinations; this was later revised to just for the crew on arrival. Note they don’t fly to China, Hong Kong or Vietnam. I also believe that the Saudis banned Singapore Airlines flights to the Kingdom.

As for the IPG, well it looks as if the management is getting some government support.
NEW DELHI, 29 April 2003 — The Indian government has initiated a process in consultation with the Labor Ministry for declaring the undeclared strike by Indian Pilots Guild(IPG) as “illegal” and take necessary action against its members, Minister for Civil Aviation Syed Shahnawaz Hussain told Lok Sabha today. Etc etc etc…. http://www.arabnews.com/Article.asp?ID=25688


29th Apr 2003, 17:53
IA pilots support AI strike but will not join

Press Trust of India

New Delhi, April 28: Pilots of the Indian Airlines on Monday came out in support of the agitating Air India pilots but would not go on a strike themselves.

The Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA), the association of IA pilots, said they support the AI strike as a measure of solidarity but have decided not to resort to any strike, sources said.
ICPA President V K Bhalla had earlier stated that the association was in touch with the top management of IA regarding operations and have decided to fly to Singapore and not stay there for the night. The management agreed to the proposal, he had said.

rsoman , for your info , Indian Airlines don't layover in singapore . They have an hour halt & then carry on to bangkok for a layover . bangkok & K'Lumpur are not on the WHO's warning list of countries/cities affected with the virus. Air Indias crew were expected to layover in singapore for 1 day or more if a Kuala lumpur or jakarta shuttle was in their pattern . Its only now , after the ipg had given out the directive that the management pilots operate to Singapore from Madra as a round trip .

As for the days of Emergency and Press Censorship being long past gone , i fully aware . But exactly how free are we & to what extend can we come out in the papers & expose the government or other influential people about their various dealings & corruption charges ???? This anyway is side stepping the main topic .

Yes in India we can get away with anything and we can blame the management and government for everything!
That is true , but at the same time how often is the management or government made account able for all its actions & decisions ????

29th Apr 2003, 22:06
So how about BA/LH/AF ......................... the list goes on. Their pilots are more secure? Anyway I find it hard to belive that their crew has a 10 day quaurantine! And I just heard on the radio a couple of days back the UK minister making a statement that you have to be practical and cannot quarantine each and everyone coming from these places!

Tiba, if you continue to belive I harbour personal grudges, despite my assertions to the contrary, well all I can say is that the answer is no. As far as my background is concerned, a search of my previous postings in this board will give enough indications of what it is and I feel that while I am certainly not equipped to comment on ay technical issues (and you will notice I dont go out of my depth ), in this issue knowing the past dealings of the IPG (which has been well publicised in India for years) and its members, and the effect it has on had on the pasengers, I continue to stick to my stand. As told before in one of my earlier postings, India is not WEST. The passenger rights are a joke, travel insurance unheard of or unaffordable to most and peoples jobs and livelihoods are at stake (and I mean not just of AI pilots!).

If you dont beleive, here goes

Taken from www.msn.co.in

AI suspends18 more pilots

New Delhi, Mumbai(Apr 29):Air India has suspended 18 more pilots.

Earlier Air India had also de-recognised the Indian Pilots' Guild (IPG) with immediate effect.

Public Relations Director Jitender Bhargava confirmed the development and said, "A letter has been sent de-recognising the guild for their anti-organisation activities and working against the airline."

Stir to end soon: Verma

In an indication of a possible breakthrough in the Air India standoff, Union Labour Minister Sahib Singh Verma has said that the Air India pilots' agitation may end soon.

The regional labour commissioner in Mumbai is holding talks with the Indian Pilots' Guild and Verma says some progress has been made towards a resolution.

However, Air India's flight schedule has been thrown in complete disarray due to the ongoing strike. While many flights have been rescheduled, some have been cancelled.

All flights out of Chennai have been cancelled till May 4, including the Chennai- Singapore-Chennai and Chennai-Mumbai flights.

Moral support

Indian Airlines pilots have expressed moral support to their agitating Air India counterparts but have denied that they will join the agitation.

The domestic pilots do undertake flights to the southeast Asian countries. But their main demand to avoid night halts in Singapore -- a SARS hot spot -- has already been accepted by their management.

Nowhere to go

But the biggest sufferers of the entire standoff have been the passengers left stranded at the various airports.

According to international norms, whenever a flight is cancelled or delayed, passengers travelling on that flight are provided with alternate arrangements and if the flight delay is overnight then the airline arranges accommodation for the passengers.

But many passengers have not been given this facility by Air India and with nowhere to go, many have been camping outside the airport from Sunday night.

"I have come from Kerala. My flight was cancelled. They asked me to leave but I have no place to go," said Varghese S, a passenger stuck at the Mumbai airport.

Stuck on the runway

Another traveller S R Ravi was planning to travel through Dubai to go to Iran for his new assignment as an electrical controller.

But his Dubai visa expired on Monday night, which means he will lose his job for which he spent over Rs 30,000.

"There is no flight. It has been cancelled thrice. My visa is expiring and if I do not go, my life is ruined," said Ravi.

With cancelled flights and no place to go, the stranded passengers offer glaring proof of just how unprepared Air India is to deal with this latest crisis.


This is not a country where if you dont get a job at TESCO you go to Sainsburys or by some reason that doesnt click go to Safeway and then work till you get bored! A job means a lot for people in this country! And air travel is not he play toy for the rich either there are a lot of poor people ( who are not paying the £1 fares of the no frills either) who invest a lot for their travel and who give AI their bread and butter revenue.

Poor old JRD and Neville Vintcent must be turning in their graves looking at the state of affairs of the institution what they started with so much pride back in the 1930s have come to nowadays!


30th Apr 2003, 04:29
Yes the list goes on . Its in the news that Royal nepal has also cancelled flights to singapore due to the virus scare . Now you have some airlines that operate to singapore & others that have stopped . The crew that continue to operate to these places obviously have no problem as they probably feel that sufficent measures have been taken by their management to to protect them . Now if the air india pilots feel that not enough has been done to protect them , then what should they do ??

They decided to follow a directive that they hoped would be enough to protect them & now face the wrath of the public , management & government . But what if they did nothing & continued to operate to these places & some of them got sick ??

If you read this months issue of INDIA TODAY titled Sars & why india should be scared , its states in black & white that India is not prepared & that the screening of passengers at the airports is not adequate . Our health minister says that there is nothing to worry about , but doctors n other magazines say we have to be worried & that 1 out of every 20 affected will die . Now who do we believe ??? our minister or the doctors ??

30th Apr 2003, 05:04
The Doctor.....???????

30th Apr 2003, 05:06
Yes its very sad that its the passengers who are suffering the most . I just hope for their sake this whole mess gets sorted out fast . JRD tata most definately is turning in his grave . The airlines down fall started when the government took over in the 1970's . The only hope for this airline is privatisation & no intefering by the government .

Well Pushpak , i for one would definately trust & believe the doctors more than any minister .

30th Apr 2003, 07:06
Yes Sinner
I am in agrement. The way out is only privatisation (the way most of the ITDC hotels have gone- the worthwhile ones anyway) and more liberalisation. Let us hope for everyones sake that the government doesnt blow this chance. But the sad thing is the more the strike goes on, the more the losses pile up and the more difficult it is to get anyone interested in taking over AI unless someone starts wrting off these massive debts. Let us hope for the best!
But allowing say Jet or Sahara to have a shot at the gulf or singapore routes might be interesting . With their 737 700s/800s they have the aircraft and with hardly any unions and some real customer service things might get a little warm but real good for the pax!

Let us live in hope!

30th Apr 2003, 09:55
Yes privatisation.................the way to go

1st May 2003, 00:55
Finally better sense seems to prevail

Taken from rediff.com


Some Air-India pilots report for duty, defy IPG directive

April 30, 2003 17:42 IST

Defying the directive of the Indian Pilots Guild, some pilots of Air-India on Wednesday reported for duty and rostered for flights even as the airline was considering hiring pilots of Indian origin with foreign airlines, presently laid off, on short-term contracts.

"Some line pilots have reported for flying and rostered for flights," A-I sources said, but declined to reveal the number who have joined duty.

The airline in a statement said it operated a special flight on the Mumbai-Delhi-Mumbai-Jeddah-Mumbai sector with a Boeing 747-200. It also plans to operate three additional flights to the Gulf sector on Thursday.

A-I spokesman said in a statement 'as more and more unionised pilots ignore the directive of Indian Pilots Guild and report for duty, the airline will gradually reinstate more flights'.

The A-I spokesman said normalcy of flight operations is expected to be attained soon with the management taking additional measures, including hiring of pilots of Indian origin.

"We are looking for Boeing 747-400 and Airbus A310 pilots of Indian origin in the Far East who have been laid off due to present turmoil and hiring them for two-three months only after necessary approvals from their respective airlines," he said.

Apart from this, the airline is also expediting training of its 40 odd pilots, he said. The airline intends to send them to Airbus training centre at Toulouse in France to expedite training so that they could be inducted for flying duties a month in advance, the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, A-I has begun reinstating flights with the Mumbai-Delhi-Mumbai-Jedah-Mumbai sector being operated on Wednesday with a Boeing 747, he said adding that this service had been cancelled as per the contingency plan.

Three more return flights from Mumbai to Bahrain-Doha Bangalore-Dubai and to Calicut-Dubai will operate on Thursday, while plans are underway to operate two more flights per day from May 2, the sectors and schedules of which were being worked out, he added.



1st May 2003, 15:12
The whole situation is quite sad really , it looks like the only support the pilots are getting are from the IPG and NO one else........I think the government's winning this one and a few changes to be seen in the unions once this boils over.....

I do agree with rsoman in one point though which has nothing to do with the present agitation....It's high time the Indian government had a proper "open-sky" policy and allowed domestic airlines to compete with AI/IA on international routes......I'd love to fly Jet Airways from dubai to India, IA/AI need to learn how to run an airline from Jet....

Well ,that's my two cents worth......;)

2nd May 2003, 09:52
Well a lot has happened in the past few days............as for the unionised pilots now reporting back for duty is not something that i would condemn. But the all out war between the union v/s management and government and the developments resulted from it has totally defeated the purpose of the directive in the first place. The wonderful world of politics comes into play here. The Air India pilots had made a preemptive move to bring to attention the effects of sars in their profession. As we speak now, the sars affected toll in india continues to rise. The director of WHO southeast asia region Dr N Kumara Rai has asserted the need to take the infection seriously. According to him, WHO recommends use of masks, in order of priority - the health care workers attending SARS patients, household caregivers of a patient, air crew attending SARS cases and officials at air and sea ports who screen passengers.

We have already seen in India the first two in the list having been infected despite wearing masks.........how much longer are we going to wait before the infection reaches the other two in the list? Dr Rai himself pointed out that this atypical pneumania has spread rapidly accross the globe as it has been primarily carried by air travellers.

The Air India pilots were on the right track when they chose to support the union over the directive that it issued. However the ensuing days have only shown us what power play and beuraucracy has led to. What the pilots supported at the start of this crisis has now been pushed into the backburner. All that stands right now is power games being played by a chosen few.......the members of the IPG committee and the management. The pilots themselves have not been consulted or even briefed over the developments of the past few days. As it stands today it has all boiled down to each one to their own. Through all of this the management has yet to address the issue of SARS and the impact of it. The failure of the management of a govt owned airline is a reflection of the failure of the govt itself.

However the cancellations of flights, the stranded passengers, the losses incurred from all of this.............for which the pilots are being singularly blamed is totally unfair. None of the IPG member pilots refused to fly. They had all turned up for duty on their respective scheduled flights. The management present at the operations would not allow them to fly if they chose to support the directive. The actions of the management have resulted in these consequences.

2nd May 2003, 15:27
Well it all seems to have been an example of poor management, poor communication and displayed the lack of expertise we have at senior (ministerial and bureaucratic levels). Even the few professional advisers who are in the management are apprehensive of giving proper advice for fear of their jobs. as I had mentioned earlier in my post the government and management instead of wasting time fighting the pilots should have concentrated on "the why" of the agitation and solve that and later it could have handled the IPG. This still doesnt seem to have happened- recent pax from SARS hit countries enter freely into India with some minor formalities. SARS patients are treated like Pariahs, not enough is done to educate the public and we still haven't understood the sequence of actions to be taken to prevent an endemic situation from arising.....

Also as pointed out in my earlier post it would be more appropriate in withdrawing the "license raj" in toto- rather than saying only Jet Airways or Sahara because any such restriction would cause further problems like "buying" the licenses etc. So a policy cannot be suited to only a few players but must include all who fullfill the professional criteria.

3rd May 2003, 18:33
Politics , politics . Where & when will it all end ??!! Now its a big battle between the labour minister who wants to take all the credit for the pilots calling of the strike & the aviation minister.He feels that the pilots should have consulted him & not the labour minister before they decided to call the strike off . Now because of this some poor pilots who had no choice but to follow the directive will pay a heavy price while the main instigators will get away relatively scot free . I hope not !!!!

4th May 2003, 11:43
All of this started because the IPG were concerned about flying with crews who had operated to Singapore, the following is taken from the Cabin Crew forum and shows the risks which were involved..............

The Australian Newspaper

Qantas employee may have SARS

May 03, 2003
A QANTAS flight attendant has been placed in isolation in a Sydney hospital as a probable SARS case, after a flight from Singapore.

Qantas chief executive Geoff Dixon said the attendant became unwell yesterday and was admitted this morning to St Vincent's Hospital, where she was in isolation.

She flew from Singapore to Sydney on Sunday and all passengers and crew on board flight QF 32, which landed on April 27, are being contacted.

"The World Health Organisation has stated that there is no evidence of SARS being transmitted by people who are not presenting symptoms of SARS," Mr Dixon said in a statement.

"As a result of this information, we believe the flight attendant was not infectious when she worked on QF 32 last Sunday.

"Nevertheless, as a precaution we have decided to contact passengers and crew who travelled on that flight and any other Qantas staff who had contact with that flight, to reassure them they should have no health concerns as a result of this case."

The flight attendant had not worked on any flights since April 27, Qantas said.

The airline was continuing to liaise with relevant health authorities, including the World Health Organisation, about the probable case, it said.

Worldwide, severe acute respiratory syndrome has killed more than 400 people, mostly in Asia.


5th May 2003, 12:43
See Guys I have nothing to do with Indian aviation, just passing by the "Rumar and News" i happen to log on to this thread. It was interesting to note the "rsoman' who started the thread says that he is not an aviator but has lot of interest in the AIR INDIA pilots' strike.

He does not know that Saudi authorities had also refused landing permission to one of SQ aircraft coming from Singapore. In singapore as per the latest guidlines of the ministry any one coming to singapore from the SARS effected or listed countries will be quarantined for 10 days.

I know in places like singapore people have no union or labour rights because everything is so well controlled by the government. Contry like india where the people have the right to organise also have the right to protest, I read that this was the way Mr. Gandhi sought the freedome for the country from the british rule. So I find nothing wrong in Indian pilots protesting againt the handling of SARS situation by the Government or the air india itself.

Yes i fail to understand that when these guys were protesting so hard how come suddenly on the assurances of one minister they called of the agitation. Has the SARS hadling situation improved in Air India. I doubt.................................

5th May 2003, 19:26
Yes i fail to understand that when these guys were protesting so hard how come suddenly on the assurances of one minister they called of the agitation. Has the SARS hadling situation improved in Air India. I doubt.................................

There in lies your answer! And also the reason why I and the majority of people involved who follow the aviation scene in the country remain convinced that the IPG strike was not motivated by SARS alone.

Yes in countries like India, people have the right to organise and protest. But we (us Indians) also have the tendency in certain occasions to over do the "democracy" bit for our own self interests nowadays.

And as for me, yes I am not an "aviator" in the sense that I am not a flight or cabin crew or even remotely connected to Air India or the government in anyway, but I have been in the industry for many years and also had to deal a lot with the other side of the fence (the many innocent victims of the IPG and the ICPA labour disputes - many of which are staged in a way which would mean instant dismissal in may other countries - wild cat strikes without any accepted labour dispute guidelines). That is all!


Turn and Burn
6th May 2003, 02:37
Given that tuberculosis is endemic in India, I would have thought that any country that Air India crews refused to fly to would be greatly relieved.

6th May 2003, 05:09
Quite agree,
Call it LMF in the forces I believe


6th May 2003, 21:03
Or may be due to SARS, India can stop the Cathay flights to BOM and DEL including the BOM DXB leg the only one which I assume should be having some load factors more than 40% these days!

More effective than the cancellations in the India Dubai sectors on Air India due to the IPG concerns about SARS. After all we cannot add SARS to the list of diseases apparently India is afflicted with courtsey other nations as the IPG says!

6th May 2003, 21:32
TURN AND BURN Country like India has no effect of any desease on its economy. You should see what SARS has done to Hongkong's economy, less said is better. IPG pilots inspite of refusing to fly still have their jobs intact, but how about the guys at CX, they are willing to fly to SARS hit areas but are still worried about their jobs

7th May 2003, 03:38

for a person who is so obviously disgusted by the state of the govt owned airlines in india, the so called hidden agendas of the union and more recently seen the state of the democracy in the country you live in.................have a question for you

What on earth is keeping you there???? And instead of being this very vocal armchair critic.....do enlighten us on your contribution and what have you done for the betterment of your fellow beings?

7th May 2003, 04:14
What on earth is keeping you there???? And instead of being this very vocal armchair critic.....do enlighten us on your contribution and what have you done for the betterment of your fellow beings?
We are in the mess we are in because half the people take the easy way out by the attitude "what on earth is keeping (me) out there".

small drops add on to become an ocean............!

And by the way I am OUT for the time being and what I am seeing where I am in now , it only reinforces my view what I have been saying about things back home(not exactly sitting in the arm chair here by the way!). And I am going back, that is not to say that I am aspiring to be the next Ralph Nader once I reach there but then as I said small drops may make a difference someday (hopefully!)


7th May 2003, 19:48
Given that tuberculosis is endemic in India, I would have thought that any country that Air India crews refused to fly to would be greatly relieved. Well peeteechase & Turn and Burn I'm sure most countries would be happy too if no one travelled in or out of UK due to mad cow disease .

8th May 2003, 07:08
Looks like Air India will try to bust the union and encourage formation of a new one. Something like this happened at SQ about 20 years ago I believe.


Air-India chargesheets seven of pilots guild



NEW DELHI: Air-India on Wednesday filed chargesheets against seven office-bearers of its erstwhile union Indian Pilots Guild (IPG). The charge: Instigating pilots to strike work and spreading misinformation by saying two pilots were SARS-infected.

This came soon after the Mumbai High Court rejected the IPG petition challenging their suspension and the guild's de-recognition.

The management has, in fact, even sealed the union office. "We are not averse to the pilots now forming a separate union," said an A-I spokesperson. Following the withdrawal of the strike by the IPG, 160 of the 200-member strong erstwhile union have reported for duty while 40 others have refused to sign the undertaking and have not been rostered for flights.

The airline said it is set to restore normal schedules from this week. All A-I flights routed via Delhi to western destinations will operate as per the normal schedule effective Wednesday.

"While all flights to Hong Kong have been suspended till May 31 owing to poor load factors, the Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam flights would commence May 12,' the spokesperson added.

An additional flight was also put into operation on the Mumbai-Chennai-Singapore sector, taking the total flights on the route to three a week. However, the airline has withdrawn the Kolkata-Guwahati-Bangkok flight till September 14. "The idle aircraft from these sectors would be used for strengthening our operations to the Gulf and the US," the spokesperson said.

A-I will operate eight additional services to the Gulf from June 1, while a new flight would be added on the Mumbai-Paris-New York route. "These will be in addition to the restored flights," he said.

Moving ahead, the airline on Wednesday also sent the first batch of six new pilots to London for specialised training. The pilots would be ready for induction by May-end.


12th May 2003, 11:52
Hey Guys

After reading the link given above I feel IPG is going to be finished unless the AI management backtracks. This can happen don't be surprised, management come up and say that it loves its pilots, they are the great assest to the airline etc......

The latest news is that DGCA India is moving papers to allow pilots fly the public transport a/c beyond the age of 60. This is another fallout of the IPG's strike. Anyway old guys happy days are here again. Younger ones so sad will have to wait for another 2 years.

23rd May 2003, 23:00
Hey Mr. rsoman...
How come you are allowing this thread to die befor the IPG is derecognised, thats is not done my friend......

Keep it up