Air India crisis continues, losses Rs 250 crore | india | Hindustan Times
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Air India crisis continues, losses Rs 250 crore

The crisis in Air India raged on for the 15th day today and the national carrier's losses mounted to Rs 250 crore as the impasse between agitating pilots and the management continued.

india Updated: May 22, 2012 14:17 IST

The crisis in Air India raged on for the 15th day on Tuesday and the national carrier's losses mounted to Rs 250 crore as the impasse between agitating pilots and the management continued.

"The loss due to ticket cancellations, unused labour and with the bulk of our Boeing-777 fleet grounded now stands at Rs 250 crore. Our losses per day have come down from Rs 13-15 crore to Rs 10-11 crore due to the contingency plan," a senior official of Air India's operations arm told IANS in New Delhi.

"Under the contingency plan for international operations, we are operating a bare minimum number of international operations by clubbing flights to destinations in Europe and the US," he said

According to the official, the agitating pilots, who are on a mass sick leave, are mandated to get a medical check-up done by a board of doctors from the Indian Air Force on immediate notice.

"They (pilots) will be checked by Indian Air Force doctors. We are awaiting the issuance of notices to them. If they clear it and are actually sick, then it is valid, but if they fail the test and come out to be absolutely fine, then they can either join back or resign," the official said.

The government may also further curtail Air India's international operations if the strike continues.

"There is a proposal to further curtail international operations if they (pilots) do not come back or if they are joined by the executive class of pilots. If we don't have pilots, how can we fly?" said the official.

The development comes a day after the management sacked 30 more pilots. The total number of sacked pilots now stand at 101.

To mitigate losses and to win back passenger trust, the airline on its part has started a special scheme whereby passengers can advance, postpone or cancel their tickets without any extra charges till May 22.

The airline has deployed the Airbus family of aircraft such as A320, A321 and A330 for international routes.

It is operating only eight of its 17 Boeing-777 aircraft which are normally manned by the pilots belonging to Indian Pilots Guild (IPG), who are now on strike.

Trouble started for the airline May 8 when pilot-members of the IPG took mass sick leave, protesting the management move to provide Boeing-787 Dreamliner training to pilots from the erstwhile Indian Airlines.

The pilots have made four demands which include exclusive flying rights on Boeing 787 aircraft, payment of arrears from 2007 onwards, travel on first class when not working, and the right to be promoted as commanders within six years.