NAC pilots resign en masse citing unfair treatment

Kathmandu, January 24

Twenty pilots of Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) have tendered a group resignation to the corporation’s management citing discrimination in remuneration and benefits.

In the letter submitted to the executive chairman of NAC last week, permanent Nepali pilots of the corporation have cited unfair treatment by the management compared to expatriate pilots associated with the corporation or other pilots hired on contractual basis.

“The remuneration offered by Nepal Airlines to its pilots is very less compared to any private domestic or international airlines in Nepal. Despite this fact, and without any notice, NAC management is deducting a certain amount from our monthly salary besides applicable tax in the name of ‘staff advance’ though we have never take any advance from NAC,” reads the note submitted by NAC pilots.

The group of Nepali pilots has basically given NAC two options — ensure all the benefits of the Nepali crew (including salary, flight hours and allowances) are similar to that of expatriate pilots of NAC, or change the employment contract of all Nepali pilots and hire them on a contractual basis with financial benefits at par with the financial package of expatriate pilots.

“If neither of the options is implemented within three months, please consider this note as the required three months’ notice of resignation, after which we will be compelled to resign from the airline,” reads the note of the group of Nepali pilots.

As per Nepali pilots, they are paid Rs 500,000 per month on an average, which is just one-third of the average monthly salary of expatriate pilots, which is Rs 1.5 million.

Accepting that expatriate pilots are paid higher than Nepali pilots, an official at NAC, seeking anonymity, said, “As we have to hire expatriate pilots who are already flying aircraft of other airline companies, we are obliged to give them the facility they are getting in other foreign airlines while roping them in.”

Regarding the tax issue, NAC officials have been saying that it was deducted as part of the income tax. As per NAC officials, tax was deducted in recent months from pilots’ salaries as the corporation had been paying monthly salary to pilots without deducting income tax throughout the year and had been deducting the tax collectively towards the end of the year.

Meanwhile, the Nepali pilots who have submitted the resignation notice did not receive repeated calls made by The Himalayan Times seeking their comment.