Air India Pilots Strike Forces 150 Flight Cancellations Saturday
Air India has reportedly cancelled 150 flights and re-scheduled 35 flights out of its daily 225 domestic flight network. Sixty flights were cancelled in Mumbai, 14 were grounded in Kolkata and 12 in Kerala.
“We will operate just around 40 flights nationally, which includes 13 flights from Delhi, where on an average we have 52 flights,” a senior Air India official with the operational arm of the airline said.
“Only the operations of Air India’s main domestic arm are effected. Our subsidiary Alliance Air is still active with 100 flights on the national network,” the official added.
The official also denied the possibility of a possible lock out of Air India, and termed it as baseless rumors floated by the unions.
“There is no basis in this lock-out talk. The management has said nothing, the government is with us and the matter is in court. We have even stopped booking, so at the end, we are very comfortable,” the official said, as cited by the Deccan Herald.
The Delhi High Court initiated on Friday contempt proceedings against the union behind the strike, the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA), after its members refused to return to work despite an order, calling on pilots to end their agitation and resume work.
More than 800 ICPA members went on indefinite strike on Tuesday after sending a notice to Air India’s management. The pilots are demanding pay parity stemming from the merger of Indian Airlines and Air India.
The state-owned air carrier denied complying with the ICPA demands and called them for return to laboring. The pilots decided to continue the strike and in retaliation, Air India sacked six leading ICPA members.
In addition, the airline informed that it no longer recognizes the ICPA and closed down its offices in Delhi and Mumbai. It also announced that it will not refund any fees of cancelled flights due to the illegal strike.