Air India pilots' strike enters Day three, 20 more flights cancelled
New Delhi/Mumbai, May 10 (ANI): Over twenty Air India flights were cancelled Thursday from Delhi and Mumbai as the pilots strike entered its third day.
Despite the Delhi High Court declaring the pilot stir illegal, they remained defiant and said the agitation would continue till their demands were met.
According to the Delhi airport web site, around 12 international arrivals were cancelled.
From Delhi, flights departing for Frankfurt, Shanghai, Toronto, New Jersey, Chicago and Seoul were cancelled, while Air India flights to New York, Riyadh and Shanghai did not take off from Mumbai.
The Air India management has so far sacked 36 more pilots. It had earlier argued before the court that inter-union rivalry between Air India and the Indian Airlines was the reason for the strike.
According to the management, there were two aircrafts at the centre of the controversy - the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Boeing 777 - and who should be trained on them. The unions were not in agreement whether pilots from Air India or Indian Airlines should be trained on the two aircraft.
A decision was taken that the training on the Dreamliner would be in the ratio 1:1 and that had already begun.
Aggrieved by this decision, the Indian Pilots Guild moved the High Court and the Indian Commercial Pilots Association moved the Supreme Court.
On April 23, the Supreme Court said that the training in the 1:1 ratio would continue. Despite this order, the Indian Pilots Guild went on strike as a pressure tactic against the training parity.
The management argued that the strike has led to hardship for thousands of passengers, and in times of difficulties, it is creating a huge loss for the airline. It further pointed out that modus operandi adopted by the pilots was to report sick.
Union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh has warned that the government might consider downsizing the national carrier if the agitation by the pilots continued.
"Government has given them Rs.30,000 crore of public money but that is not without strings. They have to prove their worth. Let me point out the example of Kingfisher. They downsized and since then they are doing fine. Air India only has 17 per cent market share. The pilots must look at this also," Singh said. (ANI)
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