Air India has now accepted that 57 pilots seeking greener pastures had resigned from the services of the airline citing financial constraints. IANS broke the story saying 50 pilots have been illegally terminated. Air India issued the clarification on the issue of acceptance of resignation of pilots.
Air India said in a media statement, "The fact of the matter is that these pilots (57 in number), seeking greener pastures, had resigned from the services of Air India citing financial constraints.
"The pilots include permanent and contractual ones. Some of the pilots had later withdrawn their resignations. Air India now no longer requires the services of these pilots and has now accepted their resignations."
"Moreover, some of these pilots have filed writ petitions before the Delhi High Court seeking a direction to Air India to accept the withdrawal of their resignations. This matter is sub judice," Air India said.
In a letter to Rajiv Bansal, Chairman and Managing Director, Air India on Friday, the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) said around 50 pilots have received illegal termination letters from the Personnel Department in blatant violation of company's operation manual and service rules.
"What's happening? Around 50 of our pilots have been terminated overnight unceremoniously without proper procedure being followed. A rude shock for those who served the nation in this pandemic putting the nation first," ICPA said in a tweet.
The ICPA in its letter to Air India CMD added that pilots who tendered their resignation letters as far back as July 2019 but withdrew them well within the mandatory six months notice period have been relieved from service suddenly from 10 p.m. on Thursday.
Pilots allege that the crew were not informed of the acceptance of resignation and therefore by extension, the commencement of any notice period.
They point that after termination of service from the close of office on August 13, a pilot was made to operate AI 804/506 on August 14. The pilots who flew these flights were not technically employees of Air India from the close of office on August 13.
"This is a violation of epic proportions not to mention the grave flight safety hazard. What would have been the mental state of these pilots after knowing their services were terminated," ICPA said.