The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain contempt of court application filed by the Air India management against the striking pilots. The Delhi high court had earlier declared the strike by the pilots illegal but they failed to return to work.
Civil aviation minister Ajit Singh met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi over the aviation crisis that has entered the fourth day throwing air passengers into a flurry.
Coming out from meeting with the Prime Minister, the aviation minister said that the government has no plans to impose Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) against the striking pilots.
The aviation minister also said that the government is not being adamant or inflexible in handling the issue. He however said that the Air India is facing crisis and it is important to save the airline first. He said if the airline can't be saved the demand of the pilots will hold no meaning.
Singh further said that the government will not play role in the Kingfisher crisis as it is a private airline.
Meanwhile, 12 Air India international flights and 12 Kingfisher flights were cancelled on Friday due to the ongoing conflict between the pilots and the management and protest against non-payment of due salaries.
"All our long haul flights to US, Europe, Riyadh and Jeddah have been cancelled", an Air India official said.
This has been done due to non-availability of pilots who are on mass sick leave since Tuesday, he said. Long overhaul flights to New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Toronto, Frankfurt, London, Paris from Delhi and Mumbai were cancelled. The national carrier has stopped bookings till May 15 on its flights to US, Europe and Riyadh.
Also ten Kingfisher flights from Delhi and two from Mumbai were cancelled after pilots did not report for work, sources said.
Pilots have been protesting since Thursday against the non-payment of thei salaries. Sources said a section of Kingfisher pilots have got their due salary, i.e., the co-pilots but the Captains have not been paid.
According to the pilots, they were assured by the management that their salary for the month of January will be paid by May 9 but it did not happen due to which they started reporting sick. 17 Kingfisher flights were cancelled on Thursday due to the stir.