Jet Airways Chairman Naresh Goyal on Wednesday warned of stern action against his pilots if they behave like "terrorists" and continue to report sick "in violation of a Bombay High Court order". List of flights cancelled
"They are behaving like terrorists. They cannot hold the country, passengers and the airline hostage," Goyal said, as the carrier was forced to cancel some 170 flights for the second day running.
"I am open to meeting and talking to the pilots. I will be more than happy to meet them. But they cannot harass the passengers," he said.
"We won't tolerate such blackmail. The livelihood of more than 30,000 employees of Jet Airways is at stake," the airline chief said after another round of meetings with top government officials in New Delhi.
"This is pure and simple contempt of court," he added, referring to the Bombay High Court order on Tuesday evening, restraining the pilots from any form of strike in the country's largest private airline.
The operations of Jet Airways were disrupted for the second straight day on Wednesday because of the mass "sick leave" by pilots, resulting in some 170 flights being cancelled.
The pilots are demanding the reinstatement of two of their colleagues who were sacked last month, which they say was done mainly because of their role in the formation of a separate union.
Late on Tuesday, three more pilots of the carrier were sacked, followed by another five added to the list on Wednesday morning. This led to the pilots hardening their stand.
Capt Girish Kaushik, the president of the newly-formed National Aviators' Guild, said he was hoping to meet the management of Jet Airways on Wednesday to resolve the matter amicably.
"I am willing to meet the management," Kaushik said, before his talks with the officials of the ministry and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.
According to Jet Airways chairman, while no estimate was available on the actual monetary loss because of the agitation, the carrier had lost out heavily in terms of the inconvenience caused to passengers.
"We had bookings from more than 14,000 domestic passengers and 9,500 international passengers," he said, seeking to project the losses in terms of how many passengers the airline was unable to fly.