New Delhi: Amid the coronavirus pandemic, two Air India pilots’ unions– India Commercial Pilots’ Association and Indian Pilots’ Guild has written a letter to Civil Aviation Min Hardeep Singh Puri seeking an ‘urgent financal aid’ for the disinvestment-bound national carrier. Also Read - Coronavirus: Air India Express Passengers Can Reschedule Tickets Freely Between March 12 And 31
In the letter, the unions stated,”During this perilous time, Air India employees have gone above and beyond to get the people of the nation back from affected countries worldwide. Despite cases of infections on our aircraft and even quarantine for our crew, the employees continue to do their duty at considerable personal risk.” Also Read - This Women's Day, Air India to Operate Over 40 Flights With All-Women Crew
“We urge you to provide urgent financial aid to Air India so that we, the airlines employees, can keep on doing our jobs and (continue) serving the nation,” the letter added. Also Read - NRIs Can Acquire 100% Equity in Air India, Says Government
Furthermore, the pilots’ unions stated that the government had not infused any funds into Air India in the current financial year, hence it makes it almost impossible for the national carrier to meet its ‘monthly financial obligations’.
“Our salary is getting delayed for more than an year and even as of date, even January wages have not been paid in full. At present, essentially all flights Air India is operating are rescue missions at the cost of our own safety with escalating risk of contracting the virus,” they said, adding that the repeated withholding of wages is straining them (Air India pilots) financially.
Notably, many airlines across the world are staring at massive losses and fear going bust, owing to the global travel bans due to the pandemic.
Aviation think-tank Centre for Asia Aviation has already warned that most airlines across the world would go bankrupt if the governments do not take a coordinated action.
According to a recent report by Acuite ratings, the domestic air traffic would be impacted negatively by 50 per cent, which would in turn also impact the passenger load factor by 50-60 per cent till June on a year-on-year basis.
(With agency inputs)