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Air India reportedly asks exiting pilots to sign bonds

Air India 787-8 in Charleston K66318-02
Air India 787-8 in Charleston

In a reported bid to stem the exodus of the pilots of its Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet, Air India has asked pilots to sign a bond, which would allow it to recover the training cost in case a pilot decides to quit the airline without serving it for at least five years, sources have explained.

Air India spends approximately Rs 25-60,00,000 on the training of each pilot who flies a Boeing 787-8 aircraft.

“We have asked these pilots, who have been trained by the airline at a huge cost to fly these planes, to sign the bond so that, when they leave, we can recover the training costs, which runs to between Rs 25-60 lakh per pilot,” a senior Air India official was quoted as saying. The move comes in the wake of eight of AI’s Dreamliner pilots leaving the airline to join other carriers without serving the mandatory six-month notice period.

“We want to pre-empt any such move by the trained pilots in future,” the official said, adding, “We had sent the bond documents to the said pilots, but they refused to sign the same.”

Air India currently has 21 Dreamliners in its fleet of aircraft and has, so far, trained 250 pilots, including those from the single-aisle planes, to enable them to fly these planes, since 2012, sources were cited as saying.