KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Tuesday directed Air India to file an affidavit on a petition challenging the airline’s decision to appoint 80 trainee pilots (holders of commercial pilot licence) from among its qualified employees.
Justice Alexander Thomas issued the order on a petition filed by Captain S G Saji of Pettah and Basheer of Kallayi, against Air India’s decision on pilot appointment. When the petition came up for hearing, Air India assured that the selected candidates would not be appointed, though the selection process was on. The court recorded the submission. Counsel for the petitioner A K Haridas submitted that the majority of the selected and short-listed candidates were those who failed in a selection process carried out a few months ago. “A person who was found unfit in a test like the ‘psychometric test’ cannot become fit after a few months.
The selection procedure was relaxed by dropping the ‘aptitude test’ and ‘written test.’ Air India, in a notice issued in March 22, 2016, had relaxed the upper age limit from 40 to 45 without any reason. The decision curtailed the opportunity of many commercial pilot licence (CPL) holders, including the petitioner, to join the public undertaking. The CPL holders spend about 1.5 lakh annually to maintain their licences. There are several efficient and qualified hands in the county, so the recruitment should be open to all Indian citizens,” it was submitted.
“Selection of unqualified hands in Air India will definitely enhance the safety of passengers. Several aviation accidents occur in India and abroad, due to incompetent and inexperienced pilots. There is serious doubt in the minds of the general public that there is corruption behind the recruitment,” stated the petitioners.