Letter to Ajit Singh: Salary Delays at Air India

While the controversy over the suicide of the wife of a Kingfisher employee ensues, the Indian Commercial Pilots’ Union (ICPA) which represents Indian Airlines pilots has sent a letter to Minister of Civil Aviation Ajit Singh regarding the salary delays faced at Air India.

The text of the letter can be read below:

Ref No: ICPA/MAA/GS/2012/13

6th October 2012.

The Hon’ble Minister of Civil Aviation
Govt. of India,
Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan,
Safdarjung  Airport
New Delhi – 110 003.
Sub:  Mounting Financial Worries.

Respected Sir,

We have come to know from media reports that the wife of an engineer employed by Kingfisher Airlines has unfortunately committed suicide due to mounting financial worries. The particular individual may have resorted to such an extreme step due to unbearable stress. Sir, we wish to draw your attention to the fact that matters at Air India are not too different from that at Kingfisher Airlines.

Our salaries and flying allowances too are pending for months and the uncertainty regarding the schedule of payments has become unbearable. In fact last year, an engineer belonging to Air India too had committed suicide due to financial worries.When the bills pile up and the credit card balance grows, things can feel down-right unbearable. Financial stress can also negatively, even severely  impact things outside of one’s wallet: one’s health, one’s performance in the job and relationships at home. An unsatisfied employee cannot keep up efficiency for long as his financial worries take over his thought process. A stressed pilot is a potential disaster in waiting.

Sir, in an interview on the 5th of Oct ’12, you have stated that  “if the employees are disgruntled then there is an issue with the safety of the  plane even if it is on ground”. We appreciate your concern towards employees who had not been paid for several months and your understanding of the fact that this directly affects the Safety of the Flight.

In this context we humbly request you to kindly intervene at the earliest and restore normalcy in our lives which unfortunately has been lacking for the past 3 years.

Thanking you,

Yours faithfully,





Cc: Chairman & Managing Director, Air India Ltd, Mumbai.
The Chief Labour Commissioner (Central), Rafi Marg, New Delhi.
DGCA., Govt. of India, New Delhi.
Executive Director (Finance), Air India Ltd., Mumbai.
Executive Director (IR), Air India Ltd., New Delhi.
General Manager (Operations) In-charge Airbus Fleet, Air India Ltd., New Delhi.
Civil Aviation Secretary, Govt. of India, New Delhi.

While there has been a lot of coverage about the non-payment of salaries to Kingfisher employees, there has been little coverage of the fact that the same issues are plaguing other carriers as well. Air India’s salaries are still being delayed, while Jet Airways was delaying salaries earlier this year as well due to financial trouble. It really is sad to see the poor state which our aviation system is in.

Unfortunately for the ICPA pilots who have written this letter, it is unlikely to do much. The IPG, representing erstwhile Air India pilots, has noted that the Ministry of Civil Aviation has in fact been forcing Air India to ignore the salary issue and pay other bills instead.