Air India on Wednesday stepped in to provide necessary support to Indian to tackle the problem arising out of the employees’ strike.
It accommodated some of the Indian passengers in an Air India Express flight that flew from Cochin to Sharjah on Wednesday.
Air India has also offered to operate extra flights in the domestic sector on Thursday to evacuate stranded Indian passengers at different airports.
“We are helping Indian both in the domestic and international sectors wherever their flights have been cancelled. We are filing the available capacity without charging any money from transferred passengers,” said Air India spokesman.
He added, “If the need be, we would press into service a big jumbo aircraft in some domestic sectors to help the stranded passengers. Our chairman, who is also the chairman of Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA), has urged all airlines to help Indian to deal with the crisis.”
Apart from providing aircraft support, Air India has also deputed some of its staff to assist the Indian personnel to run the show.
Meanwhile, the management of Indian was pressed into service. Nearly 500 officers at Mumbai were handling check-ins, ticketing, flight despatch and baggage handling functionalities to operate as many flights as possible. But they failed to cope up as 23 flights out of Mumbai had to be cancelled due to the unavailability of ground staff.
As several cabin crew affiliated to the Air Corporation Employees Union joined the strike, half a dozen of flights had to be cancelled. As per Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) norms, a flight cannot be operated without the stipulated number of cabin crew.
By 7 pm, 24 flights could be operated out of Mumbai and six more, including a combined flight, were expected to take off by late evening. Almost all sectors of Indian were affected and in several cases, flight were combined.
“The Indian staff managing the operations was clueless to handle the flights. The entire schedule was affected and they were running helter-skelter to despatch flights,” said an airport official.