Debt-ridden Air India’s technical arm AIESL has failed to deposit employees’ PF since March 2019

The undeposited amount which is part of the salary is estimated to be around Rs 200 crore

Representative Image
Representative Image


Air India Engineering Services Limited (AIESL) – a subsidiary of debt-ridden national carrier Air India – has not contributed to its PF trust, Air India Employees Provident Fund Trust (AIEPF), since March 2019, documents accessed by NH have revealed.

The undeposited amount which is part of the salary is estimated to be around Rs 200 crore.

Several employees of the AIESL whom NH spoke to alleged that the AIESL management is planning to announce a 20 per cent cut in their salaries in order to deposit the fund from the back date.

A letter in this regard is expected to be released by the management in the coming days.

“The management is trying to daub the whole issue. How can an employee's salary be deducted to pay for the PF?” said an employee who did not wish to be named.

The company, which was formed in 2004 with the aim to provide technical assistance to Air India, has the biggest aircraft maintenance and repair operation in India.

“The management had announced a 25-30 percent cut in March this year. Previous salary has not been resumed yet. On top of that, they are planning to cut 20 per cent more. How much will be left for us if 40-50 percent of our salary is deducted?” said another employee narrating his financial woes.

It is worth mentioning here that citing lack of revenue due to the Coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown, the AISEL management had announced a salary cut in March this year which further worsened the crisis. NH had reported the issue highlighting the salary crisis.


At present, there are 5000 employees working with the company which has been put for the sale by the government along with Air India. Despite several attempts, no deal could be finalized as the investors/interested parties are not willing to share the debt /liabilities.

As per sources, not only did the AIESL fail to deposit the PF, but gratuity of those who retired in October 2019 has also not been paid yet.

“It is more than nine months since I retired from services but my gratuity, which should be about Rs 14-15 lakh, has not been paid,” said another employee.

Seeking a reply on the issues of PF, salary cut and gratuity, NH has sent a questionnaire to the CEO, Chandrasekhar Karkhanis and CFO Kapil Aseri, but neither of them have responded yet. The copy will be updated as and when they respond.

Significantly, the AIEPF secretary, Ruchira Upadhyay on June 7 asked AISEL to deposit the outstanding amount and “settle the statutory obligation.”

In a letter addressed to the CFO, Upadhyay said, “Any delay in payment of the PF dues to the Trust shall be treated the way the delay in payment of provident fund dues is being treated by the EPFO and the interest and penalties will be charged as per EPFO Act”.

“The employer shall be liable to pay simple interest at the rate of 12 per cent per annum or at such higher rate as may be specified in the Scheme on any amount due from him under this Act from the date on which the amount has become so due till the date of its actual payment,” says the EPFO act.

Debt-ridden Air India’s technical arm AIESL has failed to deposit employees’ PF since March 2019

Joint Forum of Air India (JFI), an umbrella body of several organizations, is up against the government over the issue. JFI had shot off a letter to ex-Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri urging him to intervene and settle the issue.

“Fate of the AIESL employees is akin to that of the Air India…always hanging in balance. We were expecting a resolution, but the Minister has been changed. We would urge the new minister to resolve all pending issues including PF and resumption of previous salary at the earliest,” said a union leader.

Former Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia has been made Minister of Aviation after PM Modi reshuffled his Cabinet on Wednesday. Hardeep Puri has been allocated Petroleum, Housing and Urban Development.

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