Flights cancelled, passengers stuck
Fifty domestic as well as international flights of Air India were cancelled across the country on Sunday, as the strike by the airline’s pilots entered its second day.delhi Updated: Sep 28, 2009 00:19 IST
Fifty domestic as well as international flights of Air India were cancelled across the country on Sunday, as the strike by the airline’s pilots entered its second day.
At the Delhi airport, 25 flights to various destinations were cancelled, though it was less chaotic than Day 1 because many passengers had switched to other airlines.
But passengers complained that the airline didn’t inform them about the flight cancellations and even at the airport the airline officials were of little help.
The pilots, who went on a mass sick leave, said they wouldn’t talk to the airline management till a directive to affect a cut in their productivity-linked incentives (PLI) is withdrawn. The pilots have called the cut in their salary arbitrary.
The Air India board had on Thursday approved the cut in flying allowances of executive pilots by 50 per cent, to tide over a financial crisis.
Air India reported a loss of Rs 5,000 crore in 2008-09.
The executive pilots are part of the management and are not allowed to join any union. Some of these pilots went on strike claiming that over 70 per cent of their wages had been cut.
Several passengers also complained that they would not be able to make it home for Dussehra celebrations.
“The staff is not sure whether the flight is cancelled. When I asked for a refund, they couldn’t offer any help,” Akansha Sharma, a passenger, said. She eventually didn’t get a flight to Chandigarh.
On Sunday, the IGI airport wore a deserted look as several passengers chose to cancel their tickets or switch to other airlines.
“I had to reach Kolkata to enjoy the Bijoya Dashmi with my family but it seems that I won't be able to make it. Since its festive season all the trains and flights are booked,” said Anirban Roy, a bank executive.
“The airline staff did not even inform me about the status of the flight before I reached here.” He eventually went back home disappointed.
An Air India official, who didn’t give a name fearing reprisal, said, “We have cancelled flights on those sectors which have low passenger load or on which there are alternative flights, either by us or by other
airlines. We informed the passengers about the cancellation of flights and also made adequate arrangement of funds, so that there is no shortage of funds in case they go for refund claims.”