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Friday, April 29, 2011

Air India Cancels 126 Domestic Flights

AI estimates total loss of Rs 26.5 cr due to pilot strike.

Air India Domestic Flights Cancelled
National carrier Air India Ltd. said it canceled 126 local flights Friday as a strike by a group of pilots against what they say are unfair wage practices entered its third day.

Cancellations over the three days and a freeze on fresh ticket bookings have cost the airline 265 million rupees ($5.98 million) in lost revenue, Air India said.

"The number of flights successfully operated [Friday] was 39," the airline said.

Long-haul international flights are operating normally, said the airline, which usually runs 320 local and overseas flights daily.

The Indian federal government merged Air India and Indian Airlines in August 2007, but the company--which has a workforce of 31,000--hasn't been able to bring several departments under one common salary structure.

This has led to strikes by different sections of its workforce on numerous occasions in the past few years.

The ongoing strike was called by former Indian Airlines pilots, belonging to a union named Indian Commercial Pilots Association, who are now flying with Air India.

Air India employs a total of 1,500 pilots.

The airline said it had to cancel 57 flights on the first day of the strike and 96 on the second.

Air India says that the Indian Commercial Pilots Association strike is illegal due to an earlier assurance by the union to the Delhi High Court that it wouldn't strike work.

The airline has said that no strike is legally permitted as a case is pending before a tribunal set up to look into issues such as pay parity and to make recommendations on different productivity-linked incentive schemes.

It sacked seven striking pilots till Thursday and suspended four more. It didn't elaborate in the statement if more employees will be fired.

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