Go First crisis: The federation wrote in the letter that the airline is not issuing the necessary documents to the pilots who want to resign.

Go First’s pilots want the government to allow them to take up new jobs without serving long notice periods. The Federation of Indian Pilots (FIP) has written a letter dated May 15 asking the aviation ministry to intervene as the pilots of the beleaguered airline face delays in salary amid the airline’s bankruptcy process. 

The federation wrote in the letter that the airline is not issuing the necessary documents to the pilots who want to resign, according to a report in Reuters. 

Go First was granted bankruptcy protection by the NCLT, but rival airlines Air India, Vistara and IndiGo are hiring for various roles. The walk-in interviews organised by Air India across multiple cities saw an impressive response as pilots flocked to the recruitment venue. 

A 2017 government rule mandates pilots to serve a one-year notice period and co-pilots six months. According to the government, pilots are highly-skilled personnel and require training of 8-9 months to operate an aircraft. It had said that resignation without the long notice period “may result in last minute cancellation of flights and harassment to passengers, would be treated as an act against the public interest”. Once the period expires, the air transport undertaking must mandatorily issue a No Objection Certificate to the pilot. The government also said that the notice period may be reduced if the air transport undertaking provides a NOC to the pilot and accepts the resignation earlier than the requisite notice period. 

The FIP, in its letter, argued that the notice period globally is usually one month and India too should allow pilots of the financially distressed airline to resign immediately. Go First pilots’ inability to seek new jobs sends “a negative signal that spreads an atmosphere of anxiety and stress amongst pilots”. 

Go First is embroiled in a court battle with engine-maker Pratt & Whitney that it blames for its financial situation. According to Go First, its financial woes emerged after the engine maker gave faulty engines, pushing the airline to ground nearly half of its fleet. Pratt & Whitney said that the allegations are without merit and that the airline’s situation is of its own making. It added that Go First was not a “victim in need of urgent legal redress” but in reality an “insolvent airline that materially breached its contractual obligations”.

The low-budget airline said in a Delaware court that it needed an emergency arbitration in its dispute with the engine-maker. 

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