Air India management in talks with agitating pilots

September 26th, 2009 - 5:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Sep 26 (IANS) At least three Air India flights were cancelled Saturday even as the airline management began talks with the agitating pilots here.
“The talks have begun early afternoon. We hope for a positive settlement,” said a senior Air India pilot.

On Friday, 400 pilots of the cash strapped national carrier had threatened to go on sick leave if the airline did not revoke a decision to cut their productivity-linked incentives (PLI) by 50 percent.

A senior official at the Airports Authority of India (AAI) said at least three Air India flights were cancelled Saturday as some pilots failed to report for duty.

However, Air India claimed its operations remained unaffected.

“Every effort is being made to maintain normalcy even as a handful of pilots have reported sick, mostly at Delhi,” a spokesperson of the carrier said.

“All international flights have been operated as per normal schedule with no executive pilots of Air India reporting sick,” he stated.

The beleaguered carrier had Wednesday decided to cut the productivity linked incentives of employees by 25 to 50 percent as part of its cost cutting measures.

The airline’s current debt is about Rs.16,500 crore with losses standing at Rs.7,200 crore in 2008-09.

However, the affected pilots did not accept the management decision and demanded its reversal at the earliest.

Earlier Sep 8, at least 500 pilots of private carrier Jet Airways went on mass leave after the airline sacked two pilots for forming a pilots’ union. The strike continued for five days, which led to a loss of over Rs.200 crore ($40 million).

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