Strike illegal, come back to work: Ajit Singh to AI pilots

Strike illegal, come back to work: Ajit Singh to AI pilots

 Union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh today said strike by Air India pilots is illegal and they should come back to work in larger interest of the passengers.

"Efforts are being made to resolve the situation. It's my appeal to the pilots that they should think about the passengers," he told reporters after inaugurating the new terminal at Chaudhary Charan Singh airport here.

When Justice Dharmadhikari committee report is expected there is no reason behind the strike and the pilots should come back to work, he said.

"Dharmadhikari committee was constituted to look into the problems of the pilots...their problems would be considered," he said.

The minister said the Delhi High Court had already declared the ongoing strike as illegal."The court had said the strike is illegal and they (pilots) must abide by the law," he said.

"The government has given a package of Rs 30,000 crore for the revival of AI but money alone would not make difference. The airline has to be competitive and pay attention on the cost," he said.

The minister said that whatever problems pilots have they should come forward and discuss.

"But it is not possible by creating loss or causing inconvenience to the passengers...The government will not adopt a victimisation policy, whatever problems they have will be sorted out in three months," he said.

"The pilots should come back to work...there will be no victimisation by the government," he said when asked on reinstating sacked pilots.

The duty of the pilots is to carry passengers and their convenience should be kept into consideration he said.

"If passengers get unhappy it would create more problems in days to come...If the airline does not survives then there is no meaning of other things like salary, promotion or increment," he said.

On being asked about the financial problems being faced by the aviation sector, the minister said that cost of ATF with taxes in India was 40 to 50 per cent, whereas in foreign countries it was 30 to 35 per cent.

"If the cost is not reduced the problems will continue, but the manner is which passenger traffic and trade is increasing, future of the sector is bright," he said.

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