Jet pilots report for work, flights limp back to normalcy | india | Hindustan Times
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Jet pilots report for work, flights limp back to normalcy

india Updated: Sep 13, 2009 20:18 IST

Pilots at Jet Airways on Sunday resumed work ending a five-day stir shortly after a settlement with the management under which four sacked pilots were reinstated and a consultative group from the two sides is to be set up to resolve issues through continuous dialogue.

The air operations limped back to normalcy after about 100 of the nearly 500 pilots who went on a mass "sick leave" reported for duties across the country after a "amicable agreement" was announced in Mumbai following a marathon nine-hour meeting that ended at around 0230 HRS on Sunday.

Jet Chairman Naresh Goyal met over 170 pilots at a five-star hotel in a western suburb for about 45 minutes and said he was happy the "misunderstanding was over and the family was united." The meeting followed an open letter to "colleagues and friends" requesting they "forgive, forget and put behind the past behind you fully and finally."

As many as 140 flights, including 10 on international routes, remained cancelled today, a company spokesperson said, noting that 98 pilots had reported fit for work this morning.

Jet Airways' Chief Commercial Officer Sudheer Raghavan told reporters in Mumbai that normal services of the private airline were expected to be restored by Tuesday.

Nearly 500 pilots, who reported "sick" for the last five days, decided to resume their duties after the agreement.

On the status of the National Aviators Guild, which had become the bone of contention between the management and the vairline's pilots, Jet Executive Director Saroj Dutta said there was "no requirement of a union" when the pilots and the management are working together.

Guild President Captain Girish Kaushik said the law of the land would take its course with respect to NAG. On the losses incurred dueto the stir, Dutta said prior to disruption in services, the airlines revenue used to be around $ eight million a day.

On the losses suffered by the air carrier due to the stir, Dutta said, "We saved some on variable costs in our operating costs such as fuel, landing charges, etc. So there were mutual costs saved."

As part of the agreement, a consultative group/body is to be put in place, which would have at least two directors from the Board of Jet Airways, the Chief Executive Officer, two representatives from flights operations and five pilots.

It was also agareed that the Management and the pilots would jointly appear before the Conciliation officer tomorrow and inform him of developments and inform him that a consultative mechanism has now been put in place.

The Managaement would also inform the Conciliation officer that once the piltos report to work and normalacy in operations is restored it would withdraw the writ petition and not press the contempt petition in the Mumbai High Court and no action would be taken against the pilots arising out of the present situation.

The airline has started booking of seats for today's flights since this morning, as passengers trickled in following an end to stir.

Jet's ticketing counter at Delhi's IGI airport, which wore a deserted look for the last five days, saw some anxious passengers enquiring about the status of flights.

The airlines also tried to bring in some normalcy by combining Mumbai-Dubai and Dubai-Mumbai flights on international sectors.

The airline also merged some flights on Mumbai-Delhi, Mumbai-Vadodara-Ahmedabad, Bangalore-Mumbai and Mumbai-Hyderabad sectors.

The company spokesperson said the airline will initially schedule its operations on a 12-hour basis and will extend it subsequently after more flights are added to the operations.