In further trouble for the strike-hit Air India, 22 of its around 120 Executive pilots have reported 'sick' at a time when the national carrier is struggling to maintain its international operations.
Hiring of new batches of pilots is part of a new business plan for international operations, which the ailing carrier is likely to announce on Wednesday. It would be implemented as soon as necessary clearances are granted by DGCA, official sources said.
Striking Air India pilots suffered another blow on Wednesday with the Delhi High Court holding that the protesters' view on the issue of training on Boeing 777 to be used in international flights will be heard only after they call off their over three-week agitation.
Deprecating the inconvenience being caused to people due to their agitation, the Bombay High Court today asked the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) to first comply with the Delhi High Court order restraining them from continuing their "illegal strike" before sorting out the issues with the management.
This on a day, Air India filed a contempt petition against striking pilots in the Delhi High Court. The management of the national carrier says that despite the court's order calling the strike illegal and several opportunities given to the striking pilots to resolve their issues they failed to settle the matter.
It's the 14th day of the Air India pilots' strike and neither the pilots nor the government is blinking yet, though some protesting pilots have been reporting back to work - including four today. Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh will meet union leaders today, in a bid to find a way out of the crisis. But the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG), which began this strike, is not a part of the unions invited for the talks, as it was de-recognised some days ago.
On day nine of the strike, three Air India pilots, who were amongst those who had reported 'sick', have returned to work. This comes after 71 of the on-strike pilots were sacked by the Air India management. Civil Aviation Mnister Ajit Singh has said they cannot be reinstated.
Issuing yet another appeal to the striking Air India pilots to return to work, the government today promised to hear their grievances unconditionally without any vindictive action, as it noted that the stir had cost an "almost bankrupt" airline Rs 150 crore.
Concern was expressed in the Lok Sabha today over continuation of strike by Air India pilots, with Opposition members targeting Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh for his statements outside Parliament indicating privatisation of the national carrier.
Air India on Monday extended the bar on bookings for its West-bound flights till Thursday, even as it mulled the option of shutting down global operations till a resolution is found to the pilots' strike which completed a week today. On day seven of the agitation by over 200 pilots, 14 international flights were cancelled, bringing no end to the troubles of the passengers.
It's the seventh day of the strike by the pilots of Air India and the passengers' woes are mounting. Thirteen international flights have been cancelled overnight including seven from Mumbai and four from Delhi.
Air India deadlock: Ajit Singh invites former aviation ministers for informal talks
Air India deadlock: Aviation Minister says pilots should come forward for talks
The executive pilots say the management has violated the terms of merger of Air India and Indian Airlines
They have written to the Prime Minister asking him to intervene and help restore normalcy soonest
Air India executive pilots have extended their support to the pilots on strike
Expressing his concern over the deadlock, the minister said this morning, "I hope Air India will not move to ICU"