The Delhi high court today said Air India pilots had no right to get training on advanced long-haul aircraft like the Boeing 777 as long as they were continuing on strike.
Refusing to hear an Air India appeal against a single judge's 11 May order, which had stayed the training of more pilots till the implementation of the Justice Dharmadhikari panel recommendations on the issue, a division bench of acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said, "As long as you (pilots) are on strike, we are not hearing the case. The stay order will continue, and there will be no training. We are not inclined to go on hearing this petition as long as the pilots are on strike. When they are on strike, they have no right to get training."
The court, however, said that if the pilots called off the strike they could mention the matter again during the vacation, and posted the matter for July.
While staying further training, Justice Suresh Kait had said Air India pilots who were already being trained on advanced aircraft would not be disturbed, adding, "I am of the considered opinion that till the report submitted by the Justice Dharmadhikari Committee is implemented, the imparting of training on advanced aircraft in this manner, shall remain stayed."
The Dharmadhikari panel has focused on integrating the employees and management of Air India and the erstwhile Indian Airlines, which were merged into AI in 2007. The civil aviation ministry is examining the report.
The Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA), representing pilots of the erstwhile Indian Airlines, had moved the high court against Air India and the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG), a now de-recognised association of Air India pilots. It had sought a stay of pilot training on advanced aircraft like the Boeing 777 on the ground that its pilots were not being treated on par with the AI pilots.