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Delhi HC pulls up Air India for not solving pilots wage issue


April 27, 2011 - New Delhi

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday pulled up national carrier Air India for not sorting the salary-related problems of its pilots.

It said that Air India had no right to dither of pilots pay and other benefits for 21 years.

The high court's stern missive came as it stayed the Air India pilots strike, saying that it was not in the public interest.

The high court order came soon after the Air India management sacked six leaders of the Indian Commercial Pilots" Association (ICPA).

Among those whose services have been terminated are ICPA President Captain Ashim Bhinder and General Secretary Captain Rishabh Kapoor.

Declaring the strike as illegal, the management derecognised the ICPA and sealed its offices in Delhi and Mumbai.

Meanwhile, terming the strike as unfortunate, Air India CMD Arvind Jadhav said: "The striking pilots were behaving irresponsibly and were totally unconcerned about inconvenience caused to passengers.

"Why are some pilots being impatient, being irresponsible, being unreasonable, being adamant on tarnishing the image of the company and being totally unconcerned towards the convenience of our esteemed patrons and passengers", he said in an open letter to all employees.

At least 20 Air India flights have been cancelled after some of Air India pilots affiliated to the ICPA, went on strike from midnight to press for their various demands.

Around eight flights from Delhi and eleven from Mumbai were cancelled this morning, while several others were delayed by over three hours.

The ICPA has about 700 members who use to work for Indian Airlines till it was merged with Air India in 2007.

The ICPA claims that while Air India pilots enjoy a huge fixed salary component, the same is almost minuscule for former IA pilots in 2007.

The association claims that while their entire pay package depends on the hours they fly every day, the airline has been curtailing the number of flights by 30 to 40 percent.

Meanwhile, domestic flights that are likely to be affected are those that fly from Mumbai and Delhi to Goa, Cochin, Thiruvananthapuram and Indore.

An Air India spokesperson in Mumbai said the flight to Singapore has been cancelled. Other international routes to Afghanistan, Nepal and the Middle East are also likely to be impacted.

ANI

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