Striking pilots irresponsible, disregarding passengers: Air India

"The midnight decision of the Indian Commercial Pilots' Association to go on strike is unfortunate and ill-advised," Jadhav said in a letter to employees as some 600 pilots, who belonged to the erstwhile Indian Airlines proceeded on strike.

"Why are some pilots being impatient, being irresponsible, being unreasonable and being adamant on tarnishing the image of the company and being totally unconcerned towards the convenience of our esteemed patrons and passengers?"

He said the timing was also unfortunate since they had joined the reconciliation process of the Central Labour Commissioner. "The pilots had also given a commitment, including to the high court, that they would not precipitate the situation."

Jadhav said the pilots were expected to present their case before a four-member expert committee on human resource matters led by Justice (retired) D.N. Dharmadhikari, which had begun functioning since Monday and was scheduled to give its recommendations soon.

"I personally would urge the pilots, who are our family’s important members, to get back to the discussion table and contribute to early resolution of their issues. They need to appreciate that their demands cannot be met in isolation."

The chairman's letter was dispatched even as some 20 flights were cancelled and several others re-scheduled since the pilots went on strike from midnight of Tuesday. Among the cancelled flights, eight were from the capital and 11 from Mumbai.

A spokesperson for Air India said the management had also decided to derecognise the Indian Commercial Pilots' Association and that their offices in the capital and Mumbai were sealed. "The strike is illegal -- contempt of court," the spokesperson told IANS.

He said the pilots had also earlier agreed to consider the efforts by Civil Aviation Minister Vyalar Ravi to help in resolving all issues and help the state-run National Aviation Company, which owns the Air India brand, to return to profitable operations.

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