Air India on Monday deployed planes from its jumbo aircraft fleet on domestic routes as the pilots’ strike entered the sixth day. The airline claimed that it operated 106 flights, an improvement over Sunday when the national carrier operated only 39 flights. It cancelled 89 flights in and out of the city.
“It is a contingency measure for the next few days. We have put the revised schedule on our website,” said an airline spokesperson. A wide-bodied aircraft such as Boeing-777 can accommodate passengers of around three domestic flights.
On Monday, the Delhi high court heard the response filed by the protesting pilots’ union on the contempt notice against it. The court adjourned the matter till Tuesday. Meanwhile, the ongoing strike drew attention from an international body representing more than one lakh pilots across the globe.
The International Federation of Air Line Pilots Association (IFALPA) has asked the protesting pilots’ union to share a list of their demands.
“We will mostly write to the civil aviation ministry on Tuesday,” said an IFALPA member, requesting anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
The Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association, one of the two pilots’ unions in Air India, which is spearheading the strike, had already garnered support from colleagues in Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines. Around 2,000 pilots working in the top most domestic carriers wore black bands in support of the protest.
The Girni Kamagar Sangharsh Samiti (GKSS), a body comprising the city’s mill workers, also backed the pilots. “We strongly condemn the Air India management’s threat of mass sacking, and a partial lock-out and evoking the Essential Services Maintenance Act. The sweep of this act is so big it covers all public utility services making a mockery of the rights to strike,” said a GKSS spokesperson.