After 10 days of hard bargaining, striking Air India (AI) pilots patched up with the government on Friday with the former gaining hardly anything in the process but causing the bleeding national carrier losses of more than Rs 150 crore and further denting its reputation.
With the pilots calling off their strike, AI will resume domestic services from midnight of Friday.
The Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) - which has as its members 700 pilots belonging to the former Indian Airlines - had declared a strike from the midnight April 26-27.
They were joined by another 200-odd management pilots a day later, crippling AI's domestic network.
The AI management had sacked seven pilots, suspended seven others and derecognised the ICPA.
So, after the 10-day face-off with the government, all that the pilots got was re-recognition of their association and reinstatement of the sacked and suspended pilots.
The decision to call off the strike hasn't gone down well with a section of ICPA pilots and there was a clear split in its ranks.
"We are back to square one. The government hasn't conceded an inch and we, on the other hand, have lost 10 days' pay and an assurance of a salary of 60-hours. What was the point of doing all this?" a pilot asked.
ICPA general secretary Rishabh Kapur conceded that they hadn't got any commitment on the allowances ICPA had demanded.
He said implementation of the report of the justice (Retd) Dharmadhikari Committee - which is looking into issues of wage rationalisation and level mapping - would be shared with them by November.
The pilots had demanded a fixed salary for 75 hours of flying each month and an allowance of $1,600 (Rs 72,000).
They had also demanded removal of AI CMD Arvind Jadhav and a CBI probe into the mismanagement of the company, which has a debt burden of Rs 40,000 crore and whose losses in the last three years since the merger have touched nearly Rs 16,000 crore.
The pilots had also demanded an inquiry into withdrawal of the airline's profitable routes, acquisition of 111 aircraft, bilaterals being given away to either private domestic or foreign carriers and extremely low aircraft utilization.
Asked about their demand for Jadhav's removal, ICPA president AS Bhinder said, "Our answer to this is that the government has agreed to look into all the irregularities."
"There is no ill feeling and there will be no feeling of vengeance," said civil aviation minister Vayalar Ravi.