Air India's pilot unions are opposing a 10% cut in “flying allowances,” a category which falls unequally on pilots compared with management of the state-owned airline. They said the decision goes against the spirit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal to Indian companies to ensure that salaries of employees are not slashed amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In a joint letter to Air India chief Rajiv Bansal, the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) and Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) stated: "We, the flying crew of Air India, feel immensely let down by the self-serving approach of the Executive Management Committee in the name of cost-cutting measures. The committee has completely disregarded the appeal made by the prime minister and the advisory from the labour and employment ministry."

The unions said, “… pilots and cabin crew who are the frontline warriors, flying and risking their lives, are forced to bear the maximum cut."

Flying allowance accounts for as much as 70% in pilots' salaries.