Air India strike enters Day 3 over 20 flights cancelled

By: admin
Updated: 09 May 2012 09:31 PM

Over 20 Air India flights were cancelled on Thursday
from Delhi and Mumbai as the agitation by the protesting pilots entered
the third day.

"Three international departures from Mumbai and 8 from Delhi have been
cancelled due to non-availability of pilots", an Air India official said.

Around 12 international arrivals at Delhi airport were also cancelled,
according to the website of Delhi airport.

Passengers were inconvenienced as airline officials were unable to
accommodate them in others flights or give any concrete information on
when their flights will take off.

From Delhi flights to Frankfurt, Shanghai, Toronto, New Jersey, Chicago
and Seoul were cancelled while Air India flights to New York, Riyadh and
Shanghai were not operating from Mumbai.

The Air India management sacked 26 striking pilots by Wednesday. The flag
carrier had sacked 10 pilots on Tuesday and derecognised their union -
Indian Pilots Guild (IPG). With this the number of sacked pilots has
reached 36.

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday attempted to restore operations and
issued restraining orders on pilots from going on strike. The flag carrier
had moved the court against the agitating pilots.

Trouble started when pilots belonging to IPG, of pre-merger Air India
pilots, had gone on mass 'sick' leave protesting the move by the airline
to provide Boeing-787 Dreamliner training to pilots from the erstwhile
Indian Airlines. The stir caused four international flight cancellations
each on Tuesday and Wednesday.

On Tuesday, civil aviation minister Ajit Singh slammed the
agitation calling it illegal. "There are certain ways of even going on
strike. The pilots may have grievances but they should have spoken to the
management, to me and other well wishers."

Issue behind Air India pilots' strike:
Boeing 787 Dreamliner
aircraft, considered to be the most modern passenger aircraft, was ordered
in 2005 by India's international career Air India for its fleet.
Subsequently, Air India and domestic career Indian Airlines merged into
one entity – Air India. Training for Dreamliner has started and
government has recommended mixed batches of original Air India pilots and
Indian Airlines pilots (50-50) go for the training. The original Air India
pilots are insisting that the training batches should purely be for their
pilots since the aircraft was ordered for them and they alone fly on
international sectors where the Dreamliner will be used.

Since completion of training would get the pilots promotion, Air India
pilots say if the training schedule was not mixed they would have got the
promotions in half the time that it will take now.

- with agency inputs

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