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Pilots Call for Investigation into Insurance of Air India’s Grounded Aircraft


Air India pilots are calling for an investigation into the state-run airline’s costly insurance payments for six grounded aircraft.

Members of the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) have demanded an independent investigation into why cash-strapped Air India has paid $6 million to insure six aircraft that have been out of service for three years, reports The Times of India.

Around eight years ago, Air India converted the six Boeing 737-200 aircraft to cargo planes that were operated by a private freight company from May 2007 to March 2009. Since terminating the contract with the private courier, the six planes have been grounded and Air India has continued to pay the insurance premiums.

“Six Boeing 737-200 Freighters, which have been out of service for more than three years, were still being insured at $1 million each per annum or $ 6 million, for more than the past three years,” ICPA General Secretary Shailendra Singh wrote in a letter to Air India CMD Rohit Nandan on Sunday, according to The Indian Express.

Singh’s letter was also sent to India’s Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Chief Vigilance Commissioner Nittoor Srinivasa Rau, who leads the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) agency responsible for looking into government corruption.

An Air India official confirmed receipt of Singh’s letter to The Times, but declined to comment on the allegations. The official did, however, state that “all aircraft have to be insured.”

According to The Indian Express, an unnamed Air India representative said the allegations were “false, mischievous and misleading.” The representative went on to state that five of the aircraft were insured at $1 million in 2013 and $50,000 in 2014, adding that the aircraft are “still under Air India’s registration.”

The ICPA wants India’s Central Bureau of Investigation or the CVC to look into the alleged misappropriation of funds by the state-run airline, which is currently undergoing a restructuring and receiving a large government bailout.

[Photo: iStock]

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