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Air India, Corruption and Foreign Pilots

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Air India, Corruption and Foreign Pilots

Old 3rd Jun 2010, 04:11
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Air India, Corruption and Foreign Pilots

Found an article here is the link for the same. Shadow Warrior: EXPAT PILOTS IN INDIA

In a nutshell
The article alleges the following.
1.Ministers, beaurocrats worried and expressing the need for foreign pilots.
2.Air India recruitment process not transparent
3.Using legal loopholes and setting up recruitment agencies(Parc,Rishworth), ministers and bureaucrats made money out of it. These companies were based in tax-free countries such as Dubai.
4.Earning of foreign pilots doesn't contribute to Indian taxes.
5.Experience of foreign pilots is not verified by DGCA.

I RECEIVED THE FOLLOWING WRITE-UP FROM A FORMER AIR FORCE (COMMISSIONING CREW OF AN-12s) / AIR INDIA PILOT, WHO HAD RECEIVED THE SAME FROM HIS FORMER MATE AT

AIR INDIA !!
I HAVE DELETED THE NAMES FOR OBVIOUS REASONS.
FRIGHTENING!



There has been a lot of discussion in the media regarding foreign pilots (also known as "expat pilots") in the aftermath of the tragic air accident at Mangalore. The Minister of Civil aviation, many bureaucrats, airline officials and even a few journalists have gone to great lengths to explain how experienced foreign pilots hired by Air India and private airlines are essential to the Indian aviation industry. A retired spokesperson of Air India, who has no business to speak on behalf of Air India anymore, has been repeatedly appearing on television to painstakingly explain how important foreign pilots are to the company. Clearly the air disaster at Mangalore with a foreign pilot at the controls has made a lot of powerful people worried .Very worried.



The point however is not whether foreigners should be allowed in Indian carriers or not. Some of them are highly experienced and respected professionals who have undoubtedly made a huge contribution to the Indian airline industry. This article is not about them. It is about a shady scheme on gargantuan proportions, backed by government policy and a well oiled system that feeds on unimaginable corruption, on a scale that would astonish every innocent fare paying air passenger.



Air India is a government run Public Sector Undertaking and thus, it is assumed that rules applicable to other government institutions meant to keep corruption under check would apply to it too. The Ministry of Defence, for example has strict rules debarring the involvement of private middlemen or brokers in facilitating defence contracts. Other ministries have strict guidelines on the recruitment of qualified personnel or consultants where a transparent tendering process has to be adhered to.



In the case of Air India and its subsidiary Air India Express, such rules do not seem to apply at all.

Some years ago, the ministry of civil aviation that ran erstwhile Air India and Indian Airlines, cooked up unrealistic passenger growth projections and placed massive aircraft orders for Air India and Indian Airlines. Private airlines only too eager to float shares to rake in public money and capitalise on the hype jumped in the bandwagon. Overnight, hundreds of vacancies for pilots were created.


Air India began hiring foreign pilots in 2003.Other reputed companies like Singapore Airlines and various Gulf Airlines such as Emirates, recruit foreign nationals too but with great transparency. Foreign pilots hired by them are a part of the regular workforce and are directly hired, without involving middlemen, on local terms. European airlines do not hire non EU nationals.



In Air India's case, no global tenders were floated for foreign recruitment firms and no advertisements in newspapers announcing vacancies for foreign nationals appeared.
Bureaucrats and officials in Air India, hand in glove with their counterparts and politicians in the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Labour, Home Ministry, Ministry of External Affairs and other agencies hastily cleared the proposal to hire foreign nationals and the policy of recruiting foreign pilots was established. Politicians of opposition parties were roped in and a cosy arrangement was made.


To bypass opposition from its own employees and to circumvent elaborate transparent recruitment procedures and various laws, a defunct subsidiary,
Air India Charters Ltd was revived and used as the vehicle to issue foreigners contracts. Hence the hundreds of foreign pilots in Air India and Air Express are routed through Air India Charters Ltd through recruitment firms and then using a legal loophole, deputed to Air India and Air India Express.


Private firms comprising middlemen and brokers, with the respectable title of "Aviation Consultants" were approached and many of these, such as Rishworth Aviation, Parc Aviation and scores of others appeared out of the wood work. Overnight, new consulting agencies sprang up, some in murky tax havens like the Isle of Man and Channel Islands. All suddenly began to offer "experienced" pilots from all parts of the world. Many of these foreign pilots had and continue to have no clear track record. Some claim to have thousands of hours of flying experience in countries as diverse as Russia and Rwanda. Some of the airlines and countries (such as Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia) that these pilots flew in do not even exist anymore. No background checks are carried out by either Air India or the Indian Government. Strangely the agency of middlemen, or "consultant" supplying the pilots, is entrusted with this task.



Lucrative contracts were tailor-made to lure foreign pilots in droves.



Decades of rules meant to harass Indian pilots such as stringent medical standards were waived off by the government for foreign pilots. Air India's pilots who are Indian nationals, have to undergo a DGCA medical test known as a Class I medical examination and then are again subjected to an elaborate company medical test known as a Pre Employment Medical Examination (PEME).None of these apply to foreign nationals in India.


For example, an Indian pilot may not be allowed fly an Indian passenger aircraft wearing a pacemaker but a foreigner most probably would because the medical standards in his country allow it.
There have been cases where Indian pilots who are permanently medically grounded by Indian authorities get foreign citizenship and foreign licences and return to India to fly planes on "expat" terms. At least two such "foreign" pilots have served Air India on such a contract.


Infact foreign pilots flying Indian registered aircraft are not even required to have Indian flying licences! All they had to do is produce "proof "of experience and a foreign licence and the DGCA issues a "temporary authorisation". Such "proof" of experience could be a fake certificate or a fake rubber stamp but nobody carries out a background check.



A foreign pilot is not legally answerable to the Indian DGCA since he does not have an Indian Licence. The DGCA can neither revoke nor suspend his flying licence. Technically, an Indian Co Pilot involved in a serious air accident may lose his flying licence and his job; whereas the pilot, if he is a foreigner can take the next flight home and start life on a clean slate!



To prevent the foreign pilots from coming under the ambit of direct taxes in India, the pilots are "officially" based in foreign countries such as Dubai and not given "local" terms of employment. Every month Air India pays the foreign recruitment agencies the salaries of these pilots along with a commission or "consultancy fees" to foreign bank accounts.
This is turn trickles back to the various politicians and officials who patronise the system. Not surprisingly, a foreign pilot who recently approached Air India for a job recently was asked to route his application through a recruitment agency!


As a result ,hundreds of crores of income tax that would have normally gone to the Indian Income Tax Department through TDS had these pilots been based in India, is diverted to foreign bank accounts in foreign countries

"Liaison officers" and "advisors", meant to "facilitate" business interests, are regularly appointed by these foreign recruitment agencies to "liaise" with the various ministries and departments. Two of Air India's senior most executives have retired in the past one year and have joined such firms as "liaison" officers. Another, a retired CMD, continues to show great personal interest in negotiating foreign pilots' contracts on behalf of recruitment agencies.


Foreign pilots are provided more leave, sometimes upto ten days in a month – the justification being that they need to go home to be with their families. Indian pilots flying for Air India Express are made to go on postings for fifteen days at a stretch and given one day off at their home base. Ironically these Indian pilots spend three to four days every month with their families and the foreigners (who could be from neighbouring Nepal or Dubai) spend more than a week to ten days every month on holiday.



Foreigners also get paid a higher salary and are entitled to five star hotel accommodations even when not flying. As a result, hundreds of hotel rooms are booked by Air India at exorbitant rates – a percentage of which presumably flows back to some officials.



This murky system in Air India of the past seven years has quietly gone unnoticed. As long as flights took off on time and passengers reached their destinations nobody really cared. Unions cried themselves hoarse- only to be drowned in the din of the money power of powerful lobbies
and an ill informed media often hesitant to upset a mega industry that generates lucrative advertisement revenue


The air crash at Mangalore need not have necessarily been caused by an incompetent foreign pilot. This article is not meant to disrespect the majority of foreign pilots in India. But the larger issue of rampant corruption and greed must be addressed immediately.
Little wonder that all the officials in the dishonest food chain are now working overtime to cover up the issue. Sadly the one hundred and fifty eight innocent people that have been killed cannot speak for themselves anymore.


Therefore we, the rest of the nation, must stand up in one voice to demand a CBI enquiry to unravel the mess.


We cannot afford to wait for another air disaster to prove the politicians, bureaucrats and officials wrong.

Because the next time a shady foreign pilot from strange country with a dubious qualification or medical history crashes a plane, you and I could actually be on it.

Last edited by aditya104; 4th Jun 2010 at 04:34. Reason: Added:In a Nutshell
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Old 3rd Jun 2010, 07:05
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Glad some one had the courage to write it.

May I urge Mr.Saurabh Sinha and Ms.Manju V from Times of India to kindly investigate into this and do a write up.
Might reduce the hatred we have for you.

But then, every one is someone else's stooge...
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Old 3rd Jun 2010, 08:25
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Is Ms.Manju V the same person who wrote in the times today that the AI aircraft that plunged fell at 21 000 fpm , but the captain was able to walk in the cabin whilst this happened... and the wings stayed connected !!
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Old 3rd Jun 2010, 08:50
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I can't believe this BS ...

Sadly the one hundred and fifty eight innocent people that have been killed cannot speak for themselves anymore.
Neither can the dead crew ... so whoever is the spineless coward who is writing accusations about

a shady foreign pilot from strange country with a dubious qualification or medical history crashes a plane
you should take a long hard look in the mirror my friend.

If that was really written by an AI pilot, then they should hang their head in shame.
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Old 3rd Jun 2010, 10:05
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@ Silent Scream
"May I urge Mr.Saurabh Sinha and Ms.Manju V from Times of India to kindly investigate into this and do a write up.
Might reduce the hatred we have for you."


Mr Sinha is a good writer of fictions and he is unofficial arm of Top Honcho from Indian Airlines who supplies all imaginary ( most of ) gossips and official circulars to him so dont expect him to stop ....Ms. Manju V is scariest aviation writer who thinks she is an Lady Holmes on a hunt to improve Indian Civil Aviation...she has a canny habit of making small mole into an big big hill be it with condition of pilot training in India or numerous crashes involving Indians or Huge shortages of pilots in India since 2006(..sorry that was the time i started to read her articles....)The more they write the more we hate there articles but still we read.....
God knows why people even start thread like this...Every one knows the corruption going on in AI since ages in many different levels...but still we needed a thread like this......

Say no to Manju V/Shobha John/Sinha.........and bag full of freaks....
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Old 3rd Jun 2010, 11:45
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This is yet another poorly written hatchet job from the current king of yellow journalism in India: the Times of India.

Many media houses, the ToI in particular, have been carrying on a slander campaign against the national carrier AI/IC for the past many months, where the smallest, tiniest incident is blown way out of proportion. Apparently this is being done with the full blessings of the Minister and his friend who owns an airline himself.

While the smallest incident concerning the national carrier gets blown up on television, at the same time major incidents affecting private airlines, especially KingFisher are not reported anywhere.

To those who have been keeping track, In the past year itself, KingFisher has had no fewer than 16 incidents, ranging from wing of the A320 brushing a building (at IXA), to numerous botched landings including atleast 2 instances of their ATR's going off the runway: once in Mumbai BOM.

The Minister of Civil Aviation is himself neck deep in corruption and is one of the main reasons for the sad state of affairs at the national carrier. It is this gentleman who overruled the DGCA findings for action against Carver Aviation who were found guilty of issuing fake licenses.

Flight school grounded for ‘forging’ pilot licences, Ministry lets it fly again
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Old 3rd Jun 2010, 15:39
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The air crash at Mangalore need not have necessarily been caused by an incompetent foreign pilot. This article is not meant to disrespect the majority of foreign pilots in India.
Dont take the phrase "strange country" to the heart guys.

The writer wants to expose the omnipresent corruption. If any of the minister/beaurocrat has vested interests in one of those recruitment agencies, then its a case of "Use of public office for private profit". This will required a CBI level investigation.

Last edited by aditya104; 4th Jun 2010 at 04:19. Reason: Font Size Changed. Didn't realize the bold,large font.
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Old 3rd Jun 2010, 16:36
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Total B.S.
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Old 3rd Jun 2010, 17:25
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Quote:
The air crash at Mangalore need not have necessarily been caused by an incompetent foreign pilot. This article is not meant to disrespect the majority of foreign pilots in India.
Dont take the phrase "strange country" to the heart guys.

The writer wants to expose the omnipresent corruption. If any of the minister/beaurocrat has vested interests in one of those recruitment agencies, then its a case of "Use of public office for private profit". This will required a CBI level investigation.
Do you need BOLD LARGE FONT TO MAKE A POINT?
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Old 3rd Jun 2010, 19:03
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yep.. agreed with ng kaptain.. Ur posts are an eye sore.. not a revelation please keep the font legible ,
all of us know you have been copy pasting content to grab eye balls bt the way ur posts rainbow our monitors its not a pleasant sight believe me ...

im sorry as i did not contribute to the discussion but talking abt air india seems like flagging the dead horse again and again .... again..
couple that up with huge multicolored posts the reader looses interest before he reaches the end...

just for info a member jetsreams did the same in rumour and news section

http://www.pprune.org/south-asia-far...-aviation.html and it was not exactly a 'hot thread'

and to top it up im getting mails with the same content asking me to forward it to others.. guys i don't think this is going to cause a renaissance w.r.t AIR INDIA

"As these are anonymous forums the origins of the contributions may be opposite to what may be apparent. In fact the press may use it, or the unscrupulous, or sciolists*, to elicit certain reactions." --->> where the f are you miss manju v the above refers to you... i hope this thread gives you enough bytes
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Old 4th Jun 2010, 04:32
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Font size decreased.Didn't realize the largeness of it.
________________________________________________
Yeah, it is quiet a long read. Can b boring, if one has heard all this b4. Maybe I should summarise the long article in key points.
The article alleges the following.
1.Ministers, beaurocrats worried and expressing the need for foreign pilots.
2.Air India recruitment process not transparent
3.Using legal loopholes and setting up recruitment agencies(Parc,Rishworth), ministers and bureaucrats made money out of it. These companies were based in tax-free countries such as Dubai.
4.Earning of foreign pilots doesn't contribute to Indian taxes.
5.Experience of foreign pilots is not verified by DGCA.
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Old 4th Jun 2010, 05:11
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What some of you are trying to discredit are actual facts that go on.

How can you defend and argue against something without definitive knowledge?

Expat contracts at AI / AIE are full of corruption, and for the most part not transparent. (See previous posts....)

TAX: Expat contracts state very clearly that work permits, visas, etc are the sole responsibility of The Airline. Yet, why is it that AI DEMAND the expat pilots renew their visas outside of India? Why? Because part of the pathetically ridiculous amount of paperwork involved (4 x copies of the contract, 5 million passport photos....), verification of TAX PAID must also be presented. If the visa is renewed outside of India this is not required. Now, if a TAX PAID verification is needed, then the government can find a paper trail back to the source of the income. OH NO! Why would these people not want evidence of where the money is actually going!!!????

OPEN YOUR EYES PEOPLE!


Yes, AI / AIE are under the spotlight right now. GREAT! What's the problem if there is nothing to hide? You'll find Qantas went through the same thing 2-3 years ago following the A330 ADIRU failure / uncommanded pitch down incident, as do and are Hong Kong Airlines right now. Colgen in the US was also scrutinised after the Q400 crash.

Personally, I'm happy that at long last the decrepit and putrid scum denying pilots their rights to fair and professional training, to jobs and an honest career are being exposed. Not always with accurate journalism, but being uncovered bit by bit.

If you've got nothing to hide then a spotlight won't bother you. That doesn't justify sensationalist journalism, but again, honest and corrupt free transparency will or should vilify the system.

Kick out every corrupt bureaucrat, manager and unsafe pilot from India: expat and national. Maybe this could be global wish. (I did say "wish").
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Old 4th Jun 2010, 08:15
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@itsbrokenagain,

Yes it is the same Manju.V. All I want to tell her is, if the Capt went pissing when the Aircraft was at 21000 Ft/min or around 200 Kts in a -23 Degree attitude, with all due respect, the Piss would very gently fall on the Capt's own head instead of going inside the commode.

@FlyingManutd,

As I said, every one is some one else's stooge. But there's got to be some limit.

@Ajax and fadedfootpaths,

You call it B.S because it directly offends you. It does to the rest of us as Pilots as well, but about 180 Million people read that article and now because of 2 Journalists reporting Lies, they all think we (Pilots) are B.S ! That offends me more.
(All this before the data recorder is found / Analyzed / Released).

Mangalore crash: Captain ignored co-pilot's plea to abort landing - Mangalore - City - The Times of India

Dubai flight was just 2 minutes from crashing into sea - India - The Times of India

@FLYCOUGAR, Almost every KF incident you mention has been reported. It did not get heat because no one died.

@tangowithtushar,
guys i don't think this is going to cause a renaissance w.r.t AIR INDIA
With respect, do you imply that we stop protesting against what is wrong ?

@Top Tup,

Maybe this could be global wish. (I did say "wish")
Makes two of Us.

Fly Safe!
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Old 4th Jun 2010, 08:57
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itbrokenagain: YEP!

But read your contract (I know, what's the point when it really isn't honored anyway...). It quite clearly states THE AIRLINE is solely responsible for issuing of all work visas, licenses and permits. THEY should be doing all the running around. Your contract letter from AI verifying it is evidence to get your visa. Hence, you then (should) get a FATA. It's easier for some, but for others it wasn't. For example why must the expat travel home (16 hr flight) when he/she has other plans for their leave period when the contract states EXACTLY who is responsible?

And yet, pilots salaries are withheld or doctored because THE AIRLINE claims you were unavailable for work due not having a current license.... Then honorable agencies like RAL turn their back you on.

Or, you could do what AI coerced some into doing: go the the flight in civies and uniform packed, get a boarding pass, enter the aircraft prior to passengers, change into your uniform and fly (unlicensed). Oooops! I think I just mentioned another piece of AI's unscrupulous behavior, as well as the pilots who accepted this practice.

Good luck with the process. I don't envy you one bit! Enjoy a well deserved beer at the end of the day
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Old 4th Jun 2010, 09:33
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1.Ministers, beaurocrats worried and expressing the need for foreign pilots.
As they rightly should be, in any country with such massive aviation expansion plans and an airline introducing new types, it is their responsibility as minister to ensure that the experience levels are maintained to a safe minimum.
2.Air India recruitment process not transparent
And how exactly is it possible to have a "not transparent" recruitment when you're not even doing the hiring, you're dealing with an agency? Be specific about what you mean, else you're just using big mysterious words that mean nothing.
3.Using legal loopholes and setting up recruitment agencies(Parc,Rishworth), ministers and bureaucrats made money out of it. These companies were based in tax-free countries such as Dubai.
Parc is based in the UK, Rishworth in New Zealand, both of which have more restrictive and a damn sight less corrupt taxation regimes than India. Both agencies you refer to have been in existence for decades, and have a history of supplying contract pilots to dozens of reputable global airlines, most of which have a better safety record than AI.
4.Earning of foreign pilots doesn't contribute to Indian taxes.
So you're posting this garbage out of sympathy for the Indian tax man then are you?
5.Experience of foreign pilots is not verified by DGCA.
So, do you have any actual examples of AI expat agency pilots with falsified hours - or are you just talking hot air and stirring up trouble?

This is just a cheap and disgraceful attempt to paint all expats with the Mangalore-crash safety brush. It's even more disgraceful because the accident report isn't even released yet. It's so blatantly written by a bitter and twisted wannabe who thinks expats are somehow stealing their jobs and that they could do it better.

If you are so arrogant as to be implying that the accident couldn't or wouldn't have happened if a "local" was at the controls then you are beneath contempt. Indian pilots who want to cry about industrial relations / management corruption / expats stealing their jobs are welcome to do so, and you may have a point, but don't do it by pointing the finger of "safety" at others until you have got your own house in order.
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Old 4th Jun 2010, 13:37
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DGCA verifies [Indian] co-pilots’ experience!

Quote:
5.Experience of foreign pilots is not verified by DGCA.
Interestingly, one of my assigned Indian copilots - recently out of flight school in Australia, had a brand new DGCA pilot license (ME, Commercial and Instrument) and about 300 hours TT.

By curiosity I asked to see his Australian pilot license as I had never seen one before. To my surprise his Australian pilot license only stated Single Engine, Commercial Pilot (no multi engine and no instrument rating)!

In this case, I found out all the Australian flight instructor had to do, is to endorse the student pilot logbook as well as several DGCA forms that the so called pilot had twenty hours of multi engine time and a number of approaches, as well as “passing” an in-house flight school check (in this case, exactly 20 hours of Seneca time logged, to the minute, and including one hour for the so called in-house flight check).

This particular [co]pilot never studied for and never took, never passed a real IFR written test; never took, never passed a real Multi-Engine check ride and never took, never passed a real Instrument check ride.

No wonder…

Last edited by avionimc; 4th Jun 2010 at 13:51.
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Old 4th Jun 2010, 14:18
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unfortunately this AI accident might just be the start of a bad trend. The holes are all lined up and the DGCA cant block them
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Old 5th Jun 2010, 04:11
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@Top Tup @silent_scream
Makes two of Us.

Fly Safe!
Make that 3 plz

@Ajax
The point however is not whether foreigners should be allowed in Indian carriers or not. Some of them are highly experienced and respected professionals who have undoubtedly made a huge contribution to the Indian airline industry. This article is not about them. It is about a shady scheme on gargantuan proportions, backed by government policy and a well oiled system that feeds on unimaginable corruption, on a scale that would astonish every innocent fare paying air passenger.
The writer of this article has made it clear.

@avionimc
u r right.
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Old 11th Jun 2010, 03:23
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The IXE crash happened because of one reason: FATIGUE. Sure they'll bring up a hundred contributing factors but at the end of the day these guys were both fatigued. When you're tired, the first thing to go out the window is judgement.

Until gov'ts and airlines of the world address this issue, I'm afraid these crashes will continue to happen.

Think about it, folks. Those two pilots went in to work at 18:00 the day prior. It is doubtful they actually got any quality rest that day, but of course we'll never know. Regardless, circadian rythms dictate that this type of flying is taxing on even the most rested individuals.

But.... if y'all would rather focus on "foreign pilots" as the culprit, knock yourself out.
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Old 11th Jun 2010, 09:52
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If it's true that they started at 1800 the day prior then I would agree 100% had fatigue was the main factor. Some of you might remember the DC-8 freighter crash at Gitmo(Cuba) many years ago. The crew had been on duty for 16 hrs. They were so tired that they didn't care. They were highly experienced and had been to Gitmo before several times. After that crash the rest rules were amended by the FAA.

The DGCA had some rules back which were more "pilot friendly." But bowing to pressure from the airlines they went back to the old FDTL rules.
Remember, being legal and being fatigued are two different things. When airlines expect or suggest that you get 8 hrs of sleep right when you get to a strange hotel in a strange land and a different time-zone, they are severly misguided. A BA Skipper in Delhi a year or so ago called in fatigued for his flight to London because he was not able to sleep in his hotel because of a party/wedding that went on all night long. He did the right thing but strangely all the passengers he would have flown were up in arms. I guess they were Ok with a dead tired Captain flying them to London. Everyone talks about safety etc, but then............

My understanding is that AirIndiaExpress is the biggest culprit in violating DGCA FDTL rules.
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