Air India and Vistara hold town hall; addressing concerns of pilots and employees | Latest news India

Days after Air India Express part of Tata Air India canceled several flights due to crew unavailability, and a month after a similar incident temporarily disrupted Vistara’s operations, the two soon-to-merge airlines held a town hall, the first of that time. for their employees, to address the concerns arising from the impending union.

Employees of both airlines visited the virtual town hall. (File photo)

Since the merger was announced in November 2022, both airlines’ employee unions have raised concerns ranging from career advancement to treatment inequality, lower wages and job security. Both recent disruptions can be directly or indirectly attributed to this.

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Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director (MD) of Air India Campbell Wilson and Vistara’s CEO Vinod Kannan, who is also driving the integration process while the Chief Integration Officer spoke about the merged Air India.

Employees of both airlines visited the virtual town hall. The combined workforce of the two airlines is well over 20,000.

One of the concerns of Vistara’s pilots was limiting the flying time for a co-pilot from 70 to 40 hours and reducing salaries.

To address this, Campbell said 120 pilots have already been posted between Vistara and Air India, officials familiar with the matter said. He spoke about the integrated pilot upgrade series, where pilots would not lose their seniority with either airline, and when an integrated pilot series will be created.

According to the people, who did not want to be named, the movement of workers will continue to be done through secondments, Campbell said. The leadership team will include Campbell as CEO and MD of Air India Group, Kannan as CEO of Vistara and the Chief Integration Officer and Aloke Singh as CEO of Air India Express.

The secondment is based on an assessment of employees across different functions, flying and non-flying. The people said Campbell told the public the review of 7,000 staff members has been completed.

Also read: Air India Express crew joins duty after mass sick leave and service will be normal on Tuesday

The assessment and posting of personnel had become a thorny issue among Vistara pilots over the past month.

According to the people quoted above, Cambell said that “the allocation of existing employees to the new structure will be made on the basis of merit and competence, and through a reputable independent agency” and that the companies would be “transparent and forthcoming with employees on those parameters on which the organizational structure has been designed and the adjustment process has been carried out”.

However, some pilots are concerned about the future of their careers.

“The new merit-based career development policy threatens to foster a culture of cutthroat competition and prioritizing pleasing superiors over genuine performance, which will ultimately benefit the organization at the expense of employee well-being,” one said .

Kannan, the people familiar with the matter said, spoke about the integration process and the work undertaken so far in anticipation of the merger.

Campbell told his associates that the antitrust clearances have been received and the NCLT (National Company Law Tribunal) hearings have been completed, with only the publication of the orders awaiting publication.

The merger will create India’s second largest airline in the domestic market according to passengers flown.

The AI ​​group will have full-service Air India and the low-cost Air India Express. The combined entity will have a fleet of 250 aircraft and 470 aircraft on order, and the combined workforce will be approximately 23,500.

The group will therefore be the second largest in the domestic market and the largest in the international market in and outside India.

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