Nepal Airlines permanent pilots warn of resigning en masse

Kathmandu, (TAI) The permanent pilots of Nepal Airlines have warned of quitting en masse if their demands to be treated in a fair manner regarding remunerations on par with expat or contract-based pilots were not met, it was reported on Friday.

In a notice served to the Executive Chairman of the flag carrier, the pilots said that there was a huge difference in remunerations for them and expat pilots, as their foreign counterparts have been hired on a contract basis and their taxes are being paid by the airline, the Kathmandu Post said in a report.

They have also objected to the airline management’s recent move of deducting a “certain amount” from their monthly salary, besides applicable taxes, without any notice.

“The management knows that the remuneration offered by Nepal Airlines to its pilot is too low compared to that offered to pilots to any private domestic or international airlines in Nepal,” said the notice.

“Now, without any notice to the crew, an additional amount is being deducted (from our salaries) in the name of ‘staff advance’ though we have never taken any advance from the company.”

The pilots’ warning may impact the airline’s operations, at a time when the beleaguered company had just started repaying its loans.

Reacting to the notice, a senior official at the airline, however, ruled out any big trouble, saying the pilots have just served a notice and that it was not a resignation letter.

“Since we don’t have an executive chairman now, I can do nothing,” Ganesh Bahadur Chand, Deputy Managing Director at Nepal Airlines, told the Kathmandu Post, adding that the notice was “just bargaining” for a raise.

Nepal Airlines currently has 12 foreign pilots. Since the company has switched to Airbus after flying Boeing for years, it lacks pilots to fly the newly acquired A330s.

The notice also came days after Nepal Airlines Executive Chairman Madan Kharel resigned.