Air India employees' interests would be protected: Govt

Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri speaks during the Winter Session of Parliament in New Delhi. (PTI Photo)

The Centre on Wednesday informed the Rajya Sabha that interests of employees of the state-owned carrier Air India would be protected and there would be no job loss till its privatisation.

The government would secure a fair deal for all of its employees, Minister of Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri, said.

He also rejected recent reports suggesting that several pilots of Air India are leaving the airline as their salaries were not being paid on time.

Puri said 25 per cent salaries of various employees were withheld when Air India was in financial crisis.

"There is full intention that before the privatisation or disinvestment is completed, this 25 per cent would be reimbursed to all employees in all segments," he said.

To a question, the Minister said the aviation sector requires around 100 more pilots every year and the government would upgrade its flying training academies to bridge the shortfall.

There are 32 Flying Training Organisations (FTOs) in the country, which train around 350 pilots every year.

"We are training around 350 pilots. We get some retired pilots from the Air Force and Navy personnel," he said.

The minister said, "We are in the process of upgrading our facilities so that instead of 350 or so pilots, we take this number by a few hundred".

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