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Third round of talks between Govt. and striking Air India pilots today

May 6, 2011 - New Delhi

With the pilots' strike entering its tenth-day, the third round of talks between Air India pilots and Civil Aviation Ministry to end the deadlock is likely to be held today.

The second round of talks was remained inconclusive yesterday as a much-awaited breakthrough to end the strike could not be achieved.

Speaking to reporters, General Secretary of the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA), Captain Rishabh Kapur, said they are satisfied with the progress made so far.

" Government is making sincere efforts to resolve matters and has taken some serious steps forward. We are also giving our 100 per cent to resolve the issues. We are hopeful that the matter will be resolved in a day or two", he added.

Civil Aviation ministry officials were also optimistic that the deadlock would end soon.

After their parleys with Joint Secretary Prashant Shukul, the ICPA leaders, including its President A S Bhinder, also met Civil Aviation Secretary Nasim Zaidi for the first time since the talks began on Wednesday.

Air India till Wednesday transferred about 18,000 domestic and 9,000 international passengers to private and foreign carriers since the strike began. Around 60 of its planes are grounded due to the strike, according to official estimates.

Earlier, the Delhi High Court has issued a contempt notice to nine officers of ICPA, who are spearheading the pilots strike.

The pilots have been given two weeks to respond to the notices. The next date of hearing in the contempt case is on May 25.

The Delhi High Court also criticized the striking pilots for the loss they have caused to the nation.

Over 1600 pilots of the Indian Commercial Pilots' Association (ICPA), who belonged to the Indian Airlines and were employed by Air India after the merger of the two carriers in 2007, have been on an indefinite strike since April 27 demanding pay parity.

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.


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