Indian Pilots Union Wants Ex-Pat Ban
The union representing Jet Airways pilots has ordered its Indian pilots to refuse to work with non-Indian pilots and has demanded the airline fire all non-native cockpit crew. Jet has about 100 non-Indian captains (who are presumably also in the union) and the National Aviators’ Guild is demanding they be purged from the airline. According to the Times of India, the union says there are plenty of Indian pilots looking for work and while non-Indian pilots have their uses when new aircraft are introduced, they should be fired when indigenous pilots are up to speed. It’s been 15 years since Jet introduced a new type. ”We feel the management has had more than enough time to replace the expats with Indian national pilots. We therefore demand that all expats be released immediately,” the union said in a statement. The exclusivity provisions begin May 1 but the union said all training and currency activity involving non-Indian pilots was to stop April 16. The airline has rejected the demands at all levels.
In a statement, the airline said Jet Airways “is an equal opportunities employer” and is “diverse in race, gender, caste, creed or religion ... Jet Airways is committed to offer equal opportunities to all pilots and follows a structured plan for their recruitment based on business outlook.” The union also cited a confrontation between a non-Indian pilot and a wheelchair passenger whose personal chair was incorrectly loaded as baggage. The passenger claimed the pilot was aggressive and abusive toward him because retrieving the chair caused a departure delay, but it did not directly explain what his nationality had to do with the fracas. "The safety of our passengers and pilots is of prime importance and these kind of issues cannot be tolerated at all,” the union statement said. “The expats are also a huge drain on the company's and the nation's finances."