AI extends contingency plans upto June 1
The strike by a section of Air India pilots entered its 15th day on Tuesday, forcing the airline to curtail operations till June 1.
“The contingency plan that we have put in place has now been extended to June 1 from May 25,” Air India sources said.
The ongoing crisis in Air India figured in the Rajya Sabha with Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh putting the onus on over 200 agitating pilots of the Indian Pilots Guild, saying they were not listening to the government’s appeals to end the strike.
“I committed in the House that no victimisation would be done...but pilots are not listening. That is where the situation stands today,” he said.
Air India’s image has been “dented” by the strike, he said while observing that the strike came at a time when the airlines’ revenue had gone up to 35 per cent and performance was improving.
He regretted that the striking pilots, who reported sick and did not resume work, were neither sick nor had visited doctors.
The airline has so far sacked 101 pilots. Five pilots have resumed duty. The IPG has demanded that all those sacked be reinstated and asked the airline to sort out forthwith issues relating to their career progression.With no signs of an end to the impasse, the airlines has decided to accept bookings only for those flights which are being operated under the contingency plan.
Under the plan, which Air India implemented on May 16, the national carrier is operating a bare minimum number of international operations by clubbing flights to destinations in Europe and the US.
Consequently, Air India continued operating a curtailed international schedule, flying seven West-bound flights instead of normal 16 daily flights.
The airline has so far lost more than Rs 250 crore due to the agitation by over 200 pilots, who have not been flying for the past 15 days despite.The government wants the pilots to first join back duties and then come to the negotiating table to resolve their issues.