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Kingfisher pilots go on strike; Air India cancels long haul international flights

May 10, 2012 - New Delhi

Delhi-based pilots of private carrier Kingfisher Airlines have reportedly refused to fly over alleged non-payment of outstanding dues, and it is expected that the airline's pilots based in Mumbai will join the protest later this evening.

The Kingfisher pilots agitation comes even as national carrier Air India announced that it would be cancelling long distance international flights, and even some domestic flights.

Airport authorities in Delhi and Mumbai have warned that if the pilots opt to stay away from their flight duties for an extended period, Kingfisher flight schedules could be severely affected, and passengers inconvenienced.

"From the Mumbai airport only a flight, the morning one to Chennai, was cancelled and it was for operational reasons," said a Mumbai International Airport Pvt Ltd spokesperson.

Kingfisher is now the smallest airline in Indian in terms of market share and number of flights operated/day.

Kingfisher pilots have been calling in sick, as they believes the airline management is reneging on its promise to pay pending salaries.

"The management has been blatantly lying to us. They told us that they have deposited the money for our salaries in the bank," one pilot was quoted, as saying.

"However, when we checked with the banks, they revealed that not a cent has been deposited towards our salary payments," he added.

The pilots had earlier planned to agitate from Monday onwards.

But the airline chairman Vijay Mallya wrote a letter saying that the salary for the month of January will be paid on May 9.

With the deadline gone and no payment done, the agitation began from midnight.


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