AI pilots call off stir, normalcy yet to come

Written by Agencies | New Delhi | Updated: Sep 30 2009, 22:23pm hrs
Notwithstanding the announcement of calling off the strike, a majority of the agitating Air India pilots have not resumed duty yet, leaving the flight operations disrupted on the 5th day of the stir on Wednesday.

Only 23 of the 180 executive pilots, who have been agitating against the cut in productivity-linked incentives (PLI), have reported for duty after Capt V K Bhalla, representative of the protesting pilots, announced that they were calling off the strike in deference to government's decision to maintain status quo on cost cutting measures.

Hectic discussions continued late in the evening at the Airlines House, headquarters of the erstwhile Indian Airlines here, between the pilots and Air India Chairman and Managing Director Arvind Jadhav.

The Air India issued an order keeping in abeyance the controversial Sept 24 order on cutting the PLI allowance "until a Board Sub-Committee comprising the CMD, Joint Secretary and Financial Adviser of the Civil Aviation Ministry and the Joint Secretary of the Civil Aviation Ministry examine all issues and submit its recommendations to the Board".

Capt R L Mathur, an executive pilot who was part of the talks in the Airlines House, announced later that all pilots would be reporting fit and resuming duty "right away".

"This direction will apply to pilots all over the country," he said.

Air India decided to operate six long haul international flights tomorrow while cancelling the Mumbai-New York and Delhi-New York flights, the airline sources said in Mumbai.