Air India left with contingency plan to salvage its operations: Ajit Singh
New Delhi, May 15 (ANI): Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh on Tuesday said the contingency plan is the only option left with the debt laden national carrier Air India as the strike by the pilots entered the eighth day.
"If this thing is not resolved, pilots don't understand how they are denting the credibility of Air India, how they are causing the losses, then contingency plan is the only option," Singh told media here.
Commenting on the stir by the pilots without prior notice to the management, Singh said that the pilots could have gone on strike two months later.
"Any group of employees have grievances and they have a right to strike also. They should give notice, they should discuss the issues and then they should consider the customers convenience. They could have discussed it two months later, why in the peak season," added Singh.
Singh also said that a pilot's health is a very sensitive issue and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation thoroughly keeps a check on the health of pilots.
"See the pilots' job is a very sensitive job and he has to be in good health. Every time a pilot goes to fly, health is checked. If you notice that now we have made it that if you find a pilot drunk, in first offence, we suspend him for three month and in second offence, we take away his license. So, it's a very sensitive thing and DGCA has rules and all that, that if they don't report for certain period of time then their health has to be thoroughly checked. So, DGCA will look into that. I don't know exactly how it works," he further said.
Singh further justified the decision of Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) to hike in the UDF by 10 percent and the rates would be applicable from today.
"The quasi-judicial authority, Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) raises the fares. Since 2006, the time when they took over the airport, the rates have increased by 10 percent. In 2009, AERA had to decide the fare and they had to do it for five years about how much fare to increase. Three years have passed but nothing happened and there are several reasons for that. The sudden increase is to recover the five years money in two years. Therefore, it seems to be more," Singh said.
The newly introduced User Development Fee (UDF) at the Delhi airport seems to be upsetting many. Passengers and airlines will now have to pay more on what they have been paying to the airport operator-the GMR Group-along with its consortium.
As per the airports regulator order, the UDF for international travel would be Rupees 845.50 for outgoing passengers travelling between 2,000 -5,000 kms and Rupees 699.17 for incoming ones.
For those travelling beyond 5,000 kms, the UDF would be Rupees 1,068 for outgoing and Rupees 881.10 for incoming. (ANI)
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