Come February, Air India passengers may face lesser delays as the Union government has approved a plan to penalise the national carrier’s pilots for reporting late for flights, along with incentives for those who fly more.
According to the new pay structure, in order to claim their salaries, the Air India pilots will have to fly minimum 40 hours. At present, irrespective of a minimum threshold, pilots get a fixed allowance for up to 70 hours of flying.
“Now, a pilot will have to fly a minimum of 40 hours to get allowance. Earlier, those flying up to 70 hours would get it. Even pilots who didn’t fly would get their pays,” said a senior AI official. The new pay structure was approved by the Civil Aviation Ministry in January this year and will be effective from February this year, the official added.
Also, pilots reporting late for flights will be penalised in the form of deduction from their flying hours. According to the rule, 2.33 hours of flying will be deducted from the pilot’s total monthly flying hours if he or she reports an hour late for the flight, a senior AI official said.
There have been instances in the past when AI pilots would report sick before the flight leading to delays, another AI official said. The official added the overtime allowance for the pilots was increased by 25 per cent.
The national carrier has sought Rs. 4,277 crore as budgetary support from the government, senior AI officials said.
Out of this, Rs.3,300 crore is part of the AI’s turnaround plan and Rs.977 crore is additional demand due to fall in the value of rupee.
As a part of AI’s turnaround plan, the government has been continuously infusing capital into the loss-making national carrier since 2010-11. It has already infused Rs. 22,000 crore out of the planned Rs. 30,231 crore.