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Air India pays absentee pilot, although it can’t pay employees on time

PW Bureau

A source familiar with the pilot says he has offered to pay back the money that has been credited to him New Delhi: Despite having trouble paying employees on time for many months last year, Air India has been paying an absentee pilot, who is not on the beleaguered carrier’s payroll. The pilot is on deputation for about two years and the case was brought to light only two months ago. However, a source familiar with the pilot says he has offered to pay back the money that has been credited to him, as the carrier still struggles to meet operational expenses, a report published by The Economic Times said. “The pilot has offered to pay back the amount that has been credited to his account over a period of two months. The airline now has to decide on the process to facilitate the return,” a source said. The source added that taxes paid by both the pilot and the airline requires settlement. BS Bhullar, Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), called on the national carrier to examine the matter carefully if it has disbursed extra. “As far as DGCA is concerned, it pays employees as per the financial framework of the government. If AI has disbursed more than allowed, it is for them to correct it. We’ll look into our domain and ensure it is as per our financial framework,” he told ET. Air India has defaulted on removing its employees — who are either in deputation or left the company — in the past. In 2013, 400 employees, including 50 pilots, were on the company’s payrolls despite leaving their jobs.