Air India begins international operations
|Posted online: Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at 10:49:16 PM|
New Delhi, May 16 : Air India on Wednesday began international operations to the U.S. and Europe as part of its contingency plan, despite the pilots' strike entering its ninth today.
According to media reports, the airline curtailed and clubbed many of its flights to the US and Europe to stabilise international operations.
"We have put in force our contingency plan and started operating our international flights, which were affected for the past eight days," said an Air India official.
Air India, operated Delhi-Paris-New York (JFK) and Delhi-Frankfurt-Chicago flight early Wednesday morning while it would be operating Delhi-Shanghai and Delhi-London as per schedule.
Replying to a debate in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said there would be no vindictive action if the striking pilots came for talks unconditionally, but remained silent on the fate of the 71 pilots already sacked.
"Strike is not an answer to solve your grievances.... All the grievances will be heard unconditionally. You come to talks unconditionally ... Please go back to work," he said.
"Air India management will in no way be vindictive towards any employee.... A lot of young people have just joined (as pilots). But the first priority should be that passengers are not inconvenienced," he added.
He also said that the Justice Dharmadhikari Committee report relating to the human resource policy for its employees will be implemented after taking all sections into confidence.
About 500 Air India pilots who fly international routes have been demanding that their colleagues from Indian Airlines should not be trained to fly Dreamliners, as they believe it may hurt the career prospects of original Air India staff.
Both companies were merged in 2007, but there have been problems with integration. Air India's purchase of Dreamliners was also criticised by a central auditor last year for "imposing an undue long-term financial burden".