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Air India calls pilot unions meet on privatisation

Air-IndiaAir India has called a meeting of its pilot unions in New Delhi next week to discuss about the proposed strategic disinvestment amid opposition from other employee unions.

On April 5, Air India chairman and managing director Pradeep Singh Kharola had held a meeting with representatives of four employee unions on the proposed privatisation and their concerns.

“Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) and Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) have been called by the Air India chairman and managing director next week to discuss about the proposed privatisation,” sources at the airline said..

The meeting is expected to take place on April 17, they said.

On March 28, the civil aviation ministry came out with the preliminary information memorandum on Air India’s strategic disinvestment.

As per the memorandum, the government plans to offload 76 per cent equity share capital of the national carrier as well as transfer the management control.

The proposed transaction would involve Air India, its low-cost arm Air India Express and Air India SATS Airport Services, which is an equal joint venture between the national airline and Singapore-based SATS.

The two pilot unions – IPG and ICPA – together claim representing around 1,400 non-executive pilots of Air Indias wide and narrow-body aircraft fleet.

These two unions are understood to be in favour of privatisation provided all their pending dues are cleared.

On the other hand, the employee unions opposed to the privatisation have intensified their stir against the move.

Around 11 Air India unions have formed a joint forum to fight against the government’s decision to handover the national airline to private players amid improvement in its fiscal and operational performance.

Kharola had on Thursday said, “Air India improved performance on key parameters in FY18”, adding that the revenue spiked by 11 per cent on higher passengers traffic across its network.

The forum has already held lunch hour protest meetings at four places in Mumbai and plans to hold similar meetings at other stations also, according to its leaders.

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