Air India pilots' strike enters Day 17, passengers left in a lurch
Mumbai/New Delhi, May 24 (ANI): Passengers continue to be left in a lurch due to the strike by Air India pilots, which entered its seventeenth day on Thursday.
"I came here around 11 p.m. and I have been waiting as my flight was at 4.15 a.m. and it has also been cancelled. They said that they will inform us about the next flight by 8 a.m in the morning but they are saying that no flights are available. We are waiting on the footpath since night," said Mohammad, a passenger in Mumbai airport.
"I have to go to Riyadh. Bit they say we haven't issued the ticket. Where will we go now?, asked Imtiaz, another passenger.
Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh had earlier said that the striking pilots have refused to talk to them unconditionally, and added that it was difficult to say when the deadlock would end.
"Now, we are planning what to do? It takes little time and whatever action the Air India management can take, they are taking. I cannot say when the impasse would end because they are not willing to talk unconditionally. They (pilots) have conditions, it's an illegal strike," Singh told media.
Singh further refused to divulge much on the recent report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), which according to a media report, alleges that the federal government had given out land that would fetch them Rs.1. 60 trillion to its private sector partner.
"See, it's a draft report. When they have the final report, it will go to the parliament, and it will go to the Public Accounts Committee. We will fully cooperate in whatever we can do," said Singh.
The ongoing pilots' agitation has resulted in cancellation of several flights of the ailing airline, including many international ones, causing passenger inconvenience and a loss of over Rs.200 crore to the exchequer.
About 500 Air India pilots who fly international routes have been demanding that their colleagues from Indian Airlines should not be trained to fly Dreamliners, as they believe it may hurt the career prospects of original Air India staff.
Both companies were merged in 2007, but there have been problems with the integration since then. A central auditor also criticized Air India's purchase of Dreamliners last year for "imposing an undue long-term financial burden". (ANI)
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