Air India pilots threaten stir; Kingfisher denied fuel

Air India pilots today announced their decision to go on strike from 1 April over non-payment of salaries and other allowances for four months even as oil companies have stopped fuel supply to private carrier Kingfisher Airlines over non-payment of dues.

In a letter to the Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) said the pilots would not operate flights till their dues were cleared.

"A large number of our members have informed us that owing to the psychological stress that they are under and bearing in mind the safety of passengers, they will be unable to operate flights on and after 1 April, until the management clears all the dues," IPG president Jeetendra Awhad said in the letter.

Air India, he said, has not paid pilots salaries and layover allowances from December and flying allowances from November, he said.

Awhad said this had caused tremendous hardships, psychological stress and embarrassment to pilots, many of whom hail from humble economic backgrounds.

"Many have taken loans for their flying training, others have commitments to their parents and children, and many have complained that banks are hounding them to repay their loans," Awhad said.