The union is the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA), which has around 600 pilots as members.

Money Salary Thursday, March 26, 2020 - 07:46

Air India pilots have not received their flying allowance for the month of January, 2020 and their union has written a letter to the Chairman of Air India to urgently release the amounts, as per a report in the LiveMint. Flying allowance forms 70% of their monthly salary, the pilots mention in their letter.

The union is the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) and this was the body that was formed by the pilots of the domestic carrier Indian Airlines, before the government merged it with Air India. It has around 600 pilots as members.

ICPA, in its letter to the Chairman has pointed out that the current lockdown and the previous irregular release of their dues has put a strain on their personal finances and their January dues should be immediately released. They have even referred to the appeal by the Prime Minister to all employers not to hold back the salaries to the staff.

The government’s plans to divest 100% of its holding in Air India have also been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and the deadline for submitting bids has since been extended till April 30, 2020. As reported, the government has made every effort to make the deal attractive for the prospective buyer of Air India by removing the debts from the books and parking them in a separate SPV (special purpose vehicle). The biggest issue currently is many airlines around the world are facing a serious crisis following the grounding of international flights and experts predict many to turn bankrupt in the process. Finding a buyer from within the airline industry may become a huge challenge.

With the world economy itself taking a hit due to the coronavirus pandemic and the key economies like the US and Europe among the most affected, things can get really messy for the disinvestment process of Air India.

The government could possibly do something like it did for the telecom companies in the AGR dues case. Air India could be handed to a company like the Tata Group, which in any case is interested in bidding for the national carrier in alliance with Singapore Airlines and sweeten the deal to make it work.