Thousands grounded by Jet strike

Thousands grounded by Jet strike

Pilots go on mass protest sick leave; Goyal meets aviation secy

Thousands grounded by Jet strike

.A passenger waits near the Jet Airways ticketing counter at the Mumbai airport on Thursday. AP

By evening, 186 flights –– 154 domestic and 32 international services –– had been either cancelled or affected throughout the Jet network. About 13,000 travelling passengers were affected. A majority of passengers were accommodated in other airlines. All JetLite (subsidiary of Jet Airways)flights were operated as per normal schedule.

The ordeal began early morning itself as the passengers found, on coming to the airport in different cities, that their flights had been cancelled as the pilots had ‘reported sick.’

A company statement, calling the wildcat stir a “simulated” strike, said “since 10 pm on Monday, 163 captains and 198 first officers had reported sick disrupting the flight schedule and causing inconvenience to the travelling public.”

The number of pilots who reported sick represents nearly 40 per cent of the total strength of 760 domestic pilots, the statement added.

The strike call was given by the newly formed National Aviators’ Guild (NAG) claiming loyalty of over 600 of the 1000-odd pilots of the company. The NAG  –– which had called off its strike on Monday night ––  decided to go on a snap strike, taking the management by surprise. The airways had last month terminated services two senior pilots –– Capt Sam Thomas and Capt Balaraman –– after they, along with others, formed a trade union. The union had termed the sackings “an act of vendetta” and demanded the reinstatement of the pilots.