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Corporate May 11, 2012

Air India moves SC against pilots, Ajit Singh to meet PM

New Delhi: Air India moved a petition in the Supreme Court seeking initiation of criminal contempt proceedings against the office bearers of the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) for allegedly obstructing implementation of its order on training of pilots for the Dreamliner aircraft.

An application in this regard alleged that the ongoing protest action by IPG, which has disrupted international flight operations of airline, amounts to contempt of the apex court orders. Meanwhile Aviation Minister Ajit Singh is scheduled to brief the Prime Minister of the crisis in Parliament today. The stand off between the pilots and management has entered its fourth day, with another 20 flights being cancelled today.

Meanwhile the airline has also cancelled all US and Europe flights until 15 May.

Tussle with its pilots. Reuters

Air India's counsel Lalit Bhasin said the action of the IPG was in violation of the 23 April and 2 May order of the apex court by which it was made clear that the training programme will be imparted in equal ratio to the pilots of pre-merger Air India and erstwhile Indian Airlines.

The IPG, whose members have been reporting sick, are protesting the national carrier's move to send pilots from both Air India and erstwhile Indian Airlines in equal numbers to get trained for flying the Boeing 787 Dreamliners, the first of which is likely to be inducted later this month.

The training program began on 8 May in Singapore.

Bhasin said the "armtwisting" act by the IPG was coming in the way of administration of justice. The matter has reached the Supreme Court after Air India had appealed against March 13 order of the Bombay High Court which had restrained the national carrier from sending any pilot from Indian Airlines for training to fly Boeing 787.

Later, on 23 April, the high court order was stayed by the apex court which had made it clear that "that the training imparted to the members of the IPG shall remain subject to the final outcome of the writ petition and shall not prejudice the rights and contentions of the writ petitioners before the High Court in any manner".

With inputs from PTI

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