Divestment-bound national carrier Air India has sent a batch of 17 senior A320 pilots — who are trained for critical low-visibility operations — for Boeing command course in the midst of the foggy season. This move has raised questions.
Air India was reluctant to send them. But the pressure has come from a Union minister, who has nothing to do with the aviation sector. Anyhow the airline had to give in, the source told. Further, the source said one of the pilots among the 17 is close to the Union minister and wanted the minister to intervene to get the command training on the wide-body plane.
Moreover, even after these pilots finish ground classes, they’ll have to go back to fly A320s as the Mumbai simulator facility for training is unlikely to be available to them for the next 5-6 months due to a huge backlog, the source added.
Many flights, including a Mumbai-Chandigarh flight, were delayed recently due to shortage of pilots trained in low visibility operations, the source said. Queries sent to Air India spokesperson G P Rao on the matter did not fetch any response even after a week.