Indian’s pilots have gone on strike protesting pay disparity between Air India and Indian employees. They have threatened that flights with Air India call sign won't be be allowed to operate if the issue is not resolved soon.
Meanwhile, indirectly rejecting the offer to join Jet Airways-Kingfisher alliance, Air India on Wednesday said the two private airlines had to come together to tide over the ongoing crisis, and that the alliance would only reduce competition.
“This will lead to a reduction in competition,” Raghu Menon, chairman and managing director, Air India, said. “There are a number of routes and there are a number of airlines. All the airlines will be evenly poised in the market.” He also said that Jet and kingfisher’s joining hands would not affect Air India's market share.
Asked about the global aviation meltdown, the Air India chief said the impact was bad enough. “It has certainly affected corporate and leisure travellers. Some impact is also felt on the domestic travel market.”
“The silver lining, however, is that aviation turbine fuel or jet fuel prices is going southwards and if it stabilises at around $80 a barrel, we will look at hedging in the international oil market very seriously.”
Describing the recent economic and aviation market crises as “cyclic events,” the state-owned carrier's chief said things would not remain the same. “The common refrain in the CEO's summit here today is that Indian aviation industry will come out stronger, because we have learnt several lessons in this period. This will also lead to reduction of flab, particularly at the operations end,” he added.