Flash strike by AI pilots leads to chaos at airports | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Flash strike by AI pilots leads to chaos at airports

Thousands of Air India passengers returned home or paid more to reach their destinations on Saturday as yet another agitation by pilots grounded the national carrier’s domestic flights across the country.

mumbai Updated: Jan 15, 2012 00:48 IST
Soubhik Mitra

Thousands of Air India passengers returned home or paid more to reach their destinations on Saturday as yet another agitation by pilots grounded the national carrier’s domestic flights across the country.

The protest ended in the evening, after the Air India management assured pilots that it would clear pending dues by next week and pay another installment in February.

By then, at least 20 flights originating in Delhi and about nine to and from Mumbai had been cancelled. The pilots say the airline had not paid them performance-linked incentives, a component comprising 80% of their salary, since August.

The agitation was started by Delhi-based pilots hours before members of their union, the Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association, were scheduled to meet airline chairman and managing director Rohit Nandan to discuss the pending dues. By evening, as the meeting continued, at least 40 pilots from Mumbai alone refused to operate flights in support of the protest. About 600 cabin crew personnel also joined the strike.

The pilots’ unions said the agitation was not planned. “Some pilots decided to start the agitation without informing the union. We have asked them to resume work,” a spokesperson said.

An Air India spokesperson said flight movements resumed in the evening, but did not comment on the payment of dues. “The problems that led to the flight cancellations were resolved by evening,” the spokesperson said.