Air India defers pilot training programme for Boeing 787s

Mumbai: State-owned Air India informed the Bombay High Court that the training schedule for pilots for the new Boeing 787 Dreamliners, due to commence Thursday, had now been postponed to the end of the month. The carrier has been dragged to court by a section of pilots owing allegiance to the Indian Pilots Guild, a union of Air India pilots existing before merger with Indian Airlines.

The carrier has chosen to negotiate with the pilots instead, said SK Talsania, counsel for AI.

A vacation bench of Justice Roshan Dalvi and Justice Amjad Sayed will now hear the Guild's petition on 14 November.

The Guild has challenged the decision of the airline management to draw equal number of pilots from Air India and erstwhile Indian Airlines for training pilots for the new Boeing 787, saying the move is discriminatory and harms their career and promotion prospects.

A number of these, state-of-the art, 787 Dreamliners are due for induction into Air India's fleet over the next few months, starting December.

Jamshed Mistry, counsel for the pilots' guild, argued that management's policy, which intended to assign flight duty on a Boeing 787 aircraft to one pilot each from Air India and erstwhile Indian Airlines, was "arbitrary and contrary to the agreements".