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IA loses 5 pilots, 6 engines in two months
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 8
At a time, when there should be celebrations within Indian Airlines with the government having cleared its long-pending plan for acquisition of new aircraft, there is more of disturbing news.

In the last one week, Indian Airlines has lost its top five pilots and in the past two months six of its planes have been grounded with engine failure.

Indian Airlines, which till now has an enviable safety record, has carried out an internal inquiry for the sudden engine failure problem and has come to a conclusion that there could be a problem in the rotors of the engine. However, what is disturbing is that all incidents occurred when Indian Airlines Airbus aircraft were in the air and the pilots had to scamper to the nearest airport for emergency landings.

On the other hand, the problem on the pilot’s front continues despite the government bring out the Civil Aviation Regulation (CAR) that pilots have to give a six-months notice to the present employer before they can take up a new assignment. In the last one week, Indian Airlines has received resignations from five pilots, three of whom have over the years acquired reputation of being hardcore Indian Airlines pilots and were holding the “executive pilot” positions.

This is not the end of the resignations. Sources disclose that there are more pilots awaiting to put in their papers as Indian Airlines is not revising their pay packets and on the other hand the newer airlines are offering them much higher salaries. This after having been decided that all airlines operating in the country would keep Indian Airlines salaries as their benchmark.

But the greater worry on hand for Indian Airlines is that of the engine failure. Sources said the six aircraft, which faced the engine failures, were all A-320.

However, what is surprising is that even the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has been keeping its eyes shut over the incident and allowing Indian Airlines to continue flying. Incidentally, the details regarding the failure of engines would have been part of the monthly report, which Indian Airlines has to file with the DGCA as a mandatory process.

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