The government on Wednesday virtually slammed the door on striking Air India (AI) pilots, announcing it would induct 100 pilots for the airline’s long-haul international flights.
“The strike is over as far as we are concerned. They (pilots) have decided not to come (back to work). We are hiring new pilots. AI has plans not only to maintain but increase international operations,” said aviation minister Ajit Singh.
AI will hire expats on a one-year contract and Indians for five years.
Of the 450 pilots on sick leave since May 7, the airline has sacked 101.
Of those on strike, 70% are co-pilots. AI plans to fill their vacancies with trainees, who will fly under experienced commanders.
“With this, the entire AI network of 27 stations shall not only be restored but expanded,” Singh said.
The pilots on strike, he said, could rejoin work if they had no pre-conditions while those sacked were welcome to reapply.