New Delhi: Air India (AI) has deferred a training programme for its pilots to fly the latest Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft by about a month following protests by a section of its cockpit crew, airline officials said Wednesday.

While two pilots are already undergoing training in Singapore, the programme to train the rest of the first batch of 16 pilots was scheduled from Thursday at Gatwick in the United Kingdom and the southeast Asian city state, they said.

Pilots deboarding an Air India Flight. Photo: Mint

While an AI spokesperson said the postponement of the training schedule by a month was due to the winter schedule and requirement of pilots for possible foggy weather, the airline informed the Bombay High Court that it had been deferred as negotiations on the issue were going on with the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG).

A Boeing 787 simulator would be installed in Mumbai by January end next year after which the airline would be able to launch in-house training for the Dreamliner pilots, the officials said.

Duration of training would be about a week-and-a-half for pilots trained to fly a wide-body Boeing 747 or 777, while those who have been operating the Airbus type would require about three weeks, they said.

The protesting pilots, owing allegiance to the IPG which represents the cockpit crew of the erstwhile AI, have charged the management with adopting discriminatory attitude in the training schedule against them vis-a-vis their erstwhile Indian Airlines counterparts.

They have been contending that the experience of Indian Airlines pilots was less than their own on Boeing wide-bodied planes and the management should not adopt a policy to have equal number of pilots from both the erstwhile carriers for the 787 training. Only AI pilots should be assigned duty on these new advanced aircraft, according to IPG.