Air India CMD Arvind Jadhav on Sunday sent SMS to employees of the national carrier to "persuade" striking pilots to return to the negotiating table and work to "save our airline."
Jadhav said the Indian Commercial Pilots Association struck "work illegally for pay increase and parity, thus threatening our survival."
"This when a Supreme Court judge is studying this issue. Risking our airline's survival at this time is criminal. We all condemn corruption in public life, and culprits must be punished," he said.
He said all actions against which the pilots are agitating occurred many years ago, for which the current administration cannot be held responsible.
"In order to save our Airline, I appeal to you to cooperate and to persuade our pilot friends to return to work, and discussions - let us start afresh," Jadhav said in the SMS.
The strike by Air India pilots entered the fifth day today forcing the national carrier to slash its operation to 40 flights across its network from the regular 165.
800-odd pilots, belonging to the erstwhile Indian Airlines owing allegiance to Indian Commercial Pilots Association, have been on an indefinite strike from the midnight of April 26 demanding pay hike.