While the debt ridden Air India is already struggling to stay afloat, its own employees seem to be dragging down the image of the beleaguered carrier further. The new problem for the airlines comes in the form of its senior-most pilots undergoing training to manoeuvre the Boeing 787 aircraft at Singapore last week. The pilots, worried that they might not be able to clear the training, allegedly tried to hack into the training module prepared by the aircraft manufacturer.
Boeing later complained to the airline that its pilots were engaging in such illegal activities. "Some of the pilots were found guilty of hacking into the training module prepared by Boeing. After Boeing brought this matter to the notice of Air India, the airlines sent a GM rank official to iron out the issue with the aircraft manufacturer," said a top Air India source.
The pilots hacked into the programme after two pilots who were sent for it earlier reportedly failed. Boeing Alteon, the aircraft manufacturer's training division, had prepared two different training modules for Air India pilots - one for those who have experience with Boeing aircraft, and another for those who have experience with Airbus.
While Boeing pilots train for 15 days, Airbus pilots undergo training for 45 days. "The pilots who have failed have experience with Airbus aircraft," the source further added.
Air India CMD Rohit Nandan said, "I am not aware of any such thing, so I would not be able to comment." Despite repeated attempts, Boeing officials could not be reached for comment.
Boeing 787 dreamliners were ordered by Air India, one of which was recently inducted in the fleet.
Bone of contention
Boeing 787 has been the source of great friction between two pilot groups in Air India. The Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) of erstwhile Air India operate Boeing aircraft, while Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) comprising erstwhile Indian Airlines pilots mostly operate the Airbus fleet. These two groups have long been at loggerheads over training for 787. While IPG members want to be the sole groups of pilots with know-how on flying Boeing, ICPA members wanted an equal share in training. The Air India management later decided to send an equal number of pilots from both the groups for training on 787.