Pilot strike forces Air India cancellations to Maldives

Thursday, 28 April 2011 12:02

Air India has cancelled its flights to the Maldives today, after pilots staged a strike over pay.

The airline’s Maldivian agent, Villa Travels said the flights scheduled for today have been cancelled.

“We can provide a refund for tickets purchased for today’s flights, or else we can transfer the passengers to the next flight. But we don’t know whether the flights for tomorrow have been cancelled,” a Villa Travels official said.

Media reports from India say that more than 650 out of the roughly 1,500 Air India pilots are participating in the strike over payment grievances.

Airline officials said that six senior figures at the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA), which represents pilots who flew for the domestic carrier, Indian Airlines, before a merger with Air India, were sacked and another two suspended after some 660 of the union’s 800 members staged a walk-out.

The union claims that Air India pilots are paid a higher fixed salary than ICPA members, and they have seen a cut of 30 to 40 percent in the number of flights entrusted to them.

Air India cancelled more than 50 flights yesterday and most of its flights are expected to be grounded today.

An ailing Air India has been trying to cut costs, modernize its fleet and battle fierce competition from private carriers in the country’s fast-growing aviation sector.

The airline is waiting for the approval of a five-year turnaround plan, which includes an infusion of government equity and proposals to increase the size of its fleet and rationalize routes. 



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