Air India cancels 90 percent domestic flights on sixth day of pilots’ strike

May 3rd, 2011 - 2:30 am ICT by BNO News  

NEW DELHI, INDIA (BNO NEWS) — The state-owned Air India on Monday cancelled 90 percent of its domestic flights as the pilots’ ‘illegal’ strike entered its sixth day, the Hindu newspaper reported.

The mass cancellation of flights came one day after the state-owned air carrier announced that 100 percent of its activities on regional (Alliance Air), Gulf (Air India Express) and international sectors are operational.

However, the ‘illegal’ strike by the Indian Commercial Pilot’s Association (ICPA) has disrupted most of Air India’s domestic flights for this week. The air carrier announced on Sunday a reorganization of its schedule to minimize the impact.

“Air India has taken necessary steps to minimize the inconvenience caused due to the strike to its passengers,” said the airline in a statement. “Air India is also trying to transfer the stranded passengers to other airlines.”

Meanwhile, ICPA said they are open to talks and to end the strike but Air India’s management continued its stance of no negotiations until the pilots resume activities in the first place. Since the strike began, nine pilots and ICPA leaders have been sacked.

Last Tuesday, over 800 pilots went on indefinite strike while demanding pay parity stemming from the merger of Indian Airlines and Air India. The Indian government appointed a three-member committee to investigate the wage parity issues from the merger but the report will be ready in four months.

The Delhi High Court initiated on Friday contempt proceedings against the ICPA union after its members refused to return to work despite an order, calling on pilots to end their agitation and labeling the strike as illegal.

After the court’s ruling, Air India 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 strike.

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