Air India Pilots’ Unions adjust stance on new employment terms

A few weeks ago, Air India received a notice from their pilot unions talking about the fact that the contract offered to the pilots, the first one after the privatisation of the airline, was not a fair deal for them and how they needed to negotiate the contract. The key issues of disagreement were that the minimum flying hours for which allowance was guaranteed was just 40 hours instead of pre-pandemic 70 hours and the upgrade of many pilots to Senior Commanders.

Air India Pilot Unions revisit their stance.

While these terms were still being lobbed around, unfortunately, another airline declared insolvency, and Air India made a beeline for those pilots. In that case, the airline would not have had a disruption with their pilots in the A320 fleet even if some pilots wanted to not come in line with the airline’s contract. Not just that, for the junior pilots of Air India, this was clearly a good deal where they would get an upgrade to Senior Commanders. So, they wanted to go ahead with signing the contract.

The amalgamation of the two events, which happened almost together, consequently made the union climb down from its stance of rejecting the deal and withdraw its directive towards this effect. They have now left the pilots to sign the deal if they deem fit. According to sources, this was done on the back of a vote, where 80% or so pilots wanted to sign the deal.


Air India’s Pilot Unions have reversed their earlier stance about a wage deal with the airline. They have now asked the pilots to take their individual call, and if they deem fit, they can sign the deal. . The airline started recruiting pilots from another airline which recently declared insolvency.

What do you make of the change of stance with Air India Pilots?

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Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. The Unions have had to eat CROW. Had they been treated to such a sumptuous fare earlier, the story of Air India may have been different.

    • To be fair to the pilots, the fact of the matter is that the minimum flying hours for which allowance was guaranteed was just 40 hours instead of pre-pandemic 70 hours.

      And the management was busy tom-tomming the hike to the pilots as a huge favour and as if they are being very generous to them..even though it was much lesser than what they were earning pre-pandemic.

      I do not know if the management have actually brought their allowance closer to the 70 hours level that was there before or if the crew is actually happy with less it remains to be seen.

      If I was earning 1 lakh per month pre-pandemic which was now reduced to 50k due to Covid, it is only fair and reasonable that now since Covid is no longer a concern that my earning should return to what it was back in the day.

      It’s a similar situation with the pilots here at AI. Their concerns are genuine.

      • These pilots can always quit and join some other airline. It’s high time AI staff started behaving less like sarkaari babus and focused on delivering value.

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