New Delhi/Mumbai: Operations of national carrier Air India, affected for two
consecutive days due to an employees agitation, may become normal
after the Delhi High Court Wednesday issued restraining orders on
pilots from going on strike.
The flag carrier had moved the Delhi High Court against the pilots
who had gone on en masse 'sick leave' from Tuesday, leading to
several flight cancellations.
The agitation led by a pilots union of pre-merger Air India, had
gone on en mass 'sick' leave protesting the move by the airlines
to provide Boeing-787 Dreamliner training to pilots from the
erstwhile Indian Airlines. The stir caused four international
flight cancellations each on Tuesday and Wednesday.
"Till now in the day, four flights have been cancelled, including
New Delhi-Singapore, New Delhi-New York, New Delhi-Frankfurt and
Mumbai-Newark," a senior Air India official on the operations arm
"We have called in reserve pilots and other flights are operating
per schedule. Passengers are being updated about their flight
Sources in the pilots union also claimed that the disgruntled
aviators have also reached out to the chief labour commissioner's
Adopting a tough stance, Air India Tuesday sacked 10 pilots who
went on mass sick leave and de-recognised their union -- Indian
Pilots Guild (IPG). The IPG is likely to discuss the issue and the
sacking of 10 senior pilots at a meeting later Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh slammed the
agitation calling it illegal. "There are certain ways of even
going on strike. The pilots may have grievances but they should
have spoken to the management, to me and other well wishers."
"How can they (pilots) go on strike when Air India is on the path
of recovery and when it is not out of the woods," he asked.
Singh further said that while in an earlier order the Delhi High
Court had upheld the contention that the erstwhile Indian Airlines
pilots cannot be trained on the Dreamliner, the Supreme Court had
vacated the stay.
"How can the protesting pilots expect the government to go against
the Supreme Court?"
Currently training for the first batch of pilot and crew members
for the 787 is going on in Singapore. An aircraft like 787
requires around 10 pilots for operating a full day's schedule or a
connecting long haul flight.
Air India had booked 27 Boeing 787s in 2006 in a mega deal for 68
aircraft from Boeing. The first of the 27 Boeing 787 aircraft
which were ordered in 2006 for IPG cadre pilots before the merger
in 2007 is expected to join the fleet at the end of the month.
Air India is only the third global airline after All Nippon
Airways and Japan Airlines to receive the fuel-efficient and