Private airlines call off strike

Fearing govt action, carriers say they are ready for constructive dialogue

Private airlines call off strike


The Federation of Indian Airlines(FIA) which gave the strike call last Friday announced the decision in view of the “agitating public sentiments” and the potential inconvenience to thousands of passengers and the government’s “willingness” to enter into a dialogue.

With the government cracking the whip, FIA secretary general Anil Baijal said in a statement the federation decided to put “on hold” its decision to suspend flights on August 18 to protest the high taxes on jet fuel and airport charges. The federation hoped that talks with the government will lead to redressal of problems faced by the aviation industry. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has threatened strong action after the FIA issued the strike call. This was in addition to Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel’s warning that action would be taken against those who stopped operations on August 18. He had also favoured a dialogue with the private carriers who have said they were “bleeding”.

After budget carrier Indigo on Saturday pulled out of the strike, another airline Spicejet on Sunday broke ranks and decided to operate all flights on August 18. MDLR, which is not a FIA member, said it will operate flights as scheduled on the day of the strike call. 

After Spicejet's withdrawal, only major players like Jet and Kingfisher remained to carry out the strike plans. Full business class Paramount Airways has already announced not to join the strike.

Spicejet’s announcement came hours after regional player MDLR also said it will not join the stir, a day after Indigo announced it was pulling out of the strike in the backdrop of the government threatening to crack the whip on the private airlines to protect passengers’ interest. Spicejet will operate full service on August 18 and not join FIA’s strike call, an airline official said. Spicejet accounts for about 13 per cent of the overall passenger traffic.

Air India,  meanwhile, said it was gearing up to operate additional flights on August 18 to avoid possible inconvenience to passengers. Even after giving the strike call, some airlines were issuing tickets for August 18.

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