AI pilots issued ultimatum

 
The AI website does not say that flights have been suspended but merely states “seats not available”.

There has been no official note from AI declaring that it was not accepting bookings.
As the strike entered the fourth day, passengers were put through great hardship across the country following the cancellation of flights.

There seemed to be more turbulence for the airline as in Mumbai executive engineers and executive cabin crew, who would be affected by the PLI cut, threatened to go on strike. The pilots of Jet Airways, who also went on strike recently, met the striking pilots on Tuesday and offered moral support.

 With nearly half the total number of flights cancelled,  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh intervened and directed the Civil Aviation Ministry to ensure not just speedy settlement to the problem but also to attend to passengers’ problems. Singh summoned Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel on Tuesday evening while Ministry Secretary Madhavan Nambiar and AI CMD Arvind Jadhav briefed him on the strike status earlier in the day.

The executive pilots are protesting against cut in their productivity-linked incentives (PLI) which they claim was up to 70 per cent while Patel asserted that AI’s September 24 on PLI cut was kept in abeyance on September 27. “When the cuts are not applicable, what is their grievance, what are they agitating for?”, Patel asked while speaking to reporters.
Describing the strike as a “matter of concern”, the Minister, after talking about various “turnaround” schemes of both the government and the airline, asked the pilots to return to their duties. “Please, cooperate. Join your duties,” Patel appealed to the striking employees.

“I hope the entire airline will come back to full operation from Wednesday, failing which the management will be free to take any decision that it feels is necessary,” he said.
As more pilots joined the strike, 14 out of 29 international flights, including several premium routes such as non-stop Delhi-New York and Mumbai-New York, flights to London from Delhi and Mumbai, Delhi-Chicago and Mumbai-Singapore were cancelled. 
On the domestic front, AI operated 101 out of 197 scheduled flights on Tuesday and cancelled 77. 

Following a meeting between Ministry officials and airline operators, Jadhav said: “We have suspended the booking of tickets till further notice in order to save the passengers from inconvenience caused by the cancellations of flights due to the agitation.”

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