Several Alliance Air pilots go on strike over pay issue


NEW DELHI: A large number of Alliance Air pilots have gone on strike, reportedly over salary issues. Sources say pilots were promised 25% more as retainership but that didn’t happen. “So they went on a flash strike on Friday. This started from Delhi base and has extended now pan India. Evening flights cancelled,” say sources.
Comments have been sought from Alliance Air — the regional turboprop subsidiary of erstwhile Air India and now the only government-owned fixed wing airline — and are awaited. The government is soon going to divest this airline, with Tatas being seen as a likely contender as the group does not have a turboprop-powered regional arm along with IndiGo which already has ATRs in its fleet.
Alliance Air currently has a fleet of 19 turboprops — 18 ATRs and a made-in-India Dornier of HAL — and operates 115 daily departures on a network of 50 domestic destinations mainly in north and Northeast India. The 800-employee-strong airline will induct two more ATRs by September and another HAL-made Dornier. The regional carrier plans to start an international route — Chennai-Jaffna — soon, depending on the situation in Sri Lanka.
Meanwhile, sources in struggling-to-survive SpiceJet — which has deferred August pay to employees — the airline will receive around Rs 225 crore next week as part of “emergency credit line guarantee scheme” (ECLGS) that was introduced as a part of the government’s Covid-19 financial relief package to stressed sectors.
“The money will be used to clear statutory dues and lessor payments. A new chief financial officer will join next week. Fund raise process started in full earnest,” the SpiceJet source said, while adding that new Boeing 737 MAX deliveries will begin soon — something the airline has been saying since last winter.
Industry insiders say the issue with inducting more B737MAX will require the airline to be able to raise financing to do so. It remains to be seen if cash-strapped SpiceJet can do so.





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