On the fifth day of the stand-off between the Air India (AI) management and striking pilots, the former on Friday asked the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to cancel the flying licences of 11 pilots leading the agitation, which has caused cancellation of more than 50 flights since Monday.
This makes AI the country’s first airline to approach the regulator for such strict action against striking pilots. AI management sources said the 11 pilots had caused “severe damage to the airline” thrice in the past year.
The airline on Friday sacked another 25 pilots, taking the total number of those whose services have been terminated to 71. More than 400 pilots have been reporting sick since Monday. This has resulted in a daily loss of around Rs 15 crore in addition to operational losses of Rs 21 crore that AI incurs daily.
AI said it was putting in place a sustainable contingency plan that involves wet leasing of planes, management pilots operating flights and retired pilots being approached to fly aircraft.
As the crisis in the national carrier continued, striking Kingfisher Airlines pilots called off their stir after being assured by the management that their January salaries would be paid by May 15.