Around 60 Air India flights were cancelled while several others delayed on the second day of the pilots' strike which continued despite the Delhi High Court directing them to return to work.
In Delhi, 33 domestic and five international flights to Kathmandu, Kabul and Dubai were cancelled as the airline management decided to operate only those flights for which cabin crew as well as adequate pilots were available. Similarly, unavailability of cockpit crew forced the national carrier to cancel around 19 flights, including two international ones, out of Mumbai.
"These cancellation have been done as per our contingency plan under which we had decided to operate only those flights for which pilots and cabin crew were available," an Air India official said.
To tide over the crisis, the national carrier has decided to rope in 150 management or executive pilots to operate the flights, the official said. Yesterday, at least 40 Air India flights were cancelled on the first day of the strike by its pilots causing enormous hardship to thousands of travellers.
Demanding removal of Air India CMD and a CBI probe into the alleged mismanagement, 800-odd pilots belonging to the erstwhile Indian Airlines and owing allegiance to the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) had gone on an indefinite strike from Tuesday midnight.
Taking a stern view of the strike, Air India management sacked six ICPA leaders including President Capt A S Bhinder and General Secretary Capt Rishabh Kapur, derecognised the union and sealed their offices across the country.
Also, the Delhi High Court asked the agitating pilots to call off their strike in "larger public interest". The ICPA leaders said they may move Supreme Court today after completing the legal consultations.