Vistara-Pilots Stand-off Continues, No Breakthrough Yet In Talks

Vistara began flight ops in January 2015 (File).

New Delhi:

The pilot shortage that has forced Vistara to cancel multiple flights over the past 48 hours is set to continue, according to information available with NDTV late Tuesday. The crisis – which saw 52 flights cancelled today – will continue because there is no breakthrough in talks between striking pilots and management.

The pilots are protesting revised contracts following the airline’s merger with Air India.

Under the new agreements, junior co-pilots will see salaries go down from Rs 2.35 lakh per month to Rs 1.88 lakh per month since they will be mandated to fly only 40 hours instead of the earlier 70.

However, sources told NDTV pilots choosing to fly more hours could earn more, even exceeding present salaries.

The pilots are also upset they may not be promoted – to captains and, subsequently, as pilots flying widebody aircraft on international routes – if they do not sign the new contract. 

READ | Inside Track Of Vistara Crisis: Why Pilots Called In Sick En Masse

Such pilots will be deemed not interested in working with Air India. “Consequently, they will not be included in the transition,” the airline said.

Several pilots called in sick after receiving the email, leading to disruptions.

On Monday more than 150 flights were cancelled and around 160 delayed.

Speaking to NDTV, passengers have complained of poor communication and hours-long wait at the airport and slammed the airline for harassing passengers.

CIvil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia has sought a detailed report regarding cancellations and delays. The minister also asked the airline to take steps to deal with inconvenience to passengers.

READ | Centre Steps In As Vistara Crisis Deepens With More Cancellations

The aviation regulator has asked Vistara to submit daily details on flight delays.

The airline – co-owned by Tata Group and Singapore Airlines – has said it is working to stabilise the situation. “We acknowledge and are deeply concerned about the inconvenience to our customers… our teams are working towards minimising the discomfort…” the airline said.

The airline also said it had decided to temporarily reduce the number of flights it operates “to ensure adequate connectivity across our network”.


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