Debt-ridden national carrier Air India (AI) plunged into a fresh crisis on Monday with a section of pilots striking work and threatening to send the airline's international operations into disarray.
Around 200 AI pilots, who fly key international routes, reported 'sick'. They are unhappy with the management's decision to allow pilots of the erstwhile Indian Airlines (IA) train for the new Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
Their number is expected to swell by Tuesday after a bid by the management to defuse the crises failed. AI has around 450 pilots on its rolls.
The pilots had two rounds of talks with the management and civil aviation ministry officials. "We told them not to do anything at a time when the airline is under grave financial stress," an official said. A desperate airline management, fearing a passenger backlash, is planning to cancel flights on key international routes.
The Centre has warned the pilots of "serious consequences".
"The government could reconsider pumping Rs. 30,000 crore into the ailing airline," the official said.