After pilots, now passengers desert Air India | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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After pilots, now passengers desert Air India

mumbai Updated: May 09, 2011 01:39 IST

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Nearly 50% of Air India operations remained grounded on Sunday, as the crippled airline could not find enough passengers to restore full operations even two days after the pilots’ strike ended.

An Air India spokeswoman said that till 6pm, the airline operated around 60% of its flights from the city, while overall, the percentage was only about 50. Air India operates over 50 flights from Mumbai and above 350 across the country. The airline on Saturday had said that is expected normal operations by Tuesday.

“If we don’t have bookings, it is not wise to fly an empty aircraft. It might take another 36 hours to return to the pre-strike levels,” an airline official said.

AI on Saturday resumed fresh bookings after a virtual shutdown due to the 10-day pilot strike was called off on Friday. Officials said they have commenced work on getting the planes ready to fly.

The 10-day strike resulted in a loss of about Rs160 crore as over 800 pilots, belonging to the erstwhile Indian Airlines, and nearly all of the 165 executive pilots struck work.

The strike was called off after the government agreed to revoke all termination and suspension orders, withdraw the derecognition of ICPA and assured the pilots that their demands for pay parity would be considered by the justice Dharmadhikari committee on a priority basis.

The three-member panel, set up to go into all merger-related HR issues, has started work and has already met a cross-section of workers.

The pilots were also assured of a probe into their allegations of corruption soon, besides immediate steps to enhance daily utilisation of aircraft and working hours of the cockpit crew, by the management.