Though no conclusion had been reached in the marathon meeting between the team comprising civil aviation secretary Nasim Zaidi, his deputy PN Sukul and the representatives of the Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (ICPA), the now de-recognised pilot union on protest, pilots said that the talks were “progressing”.
The national carrier could operate only 32 flights out of its domestic schedule of 320 flights on Thursday. The strike led to the cancellation of 1,200 flights, disrupted holiday plans of thousands of fliers and caused a revenue loss exceeding Rs100 crore, over the last nine days.
“We have another round of discussion at 4.00pm on Friday,” an ICPA spokesperson said.
Sources said that while the ministry was prepared to recognise the union and revoke the termination of pilots, a conclusion could not be reached on the issue of pay-parity, which was one of the key demands of the striking pilots.
On Wednesday, the Hindustan Times had reported that the ICPA had demanded fixed flying allowance of 75 hours a month. It had also asked the management to fix monthly lay over allowance — the expenses incurred by pilots at foreign cities between flights — $1600 for commanders and $1300 for co-pilots.
Sources said another group of anxious pilots had a secret unscheduled meeting with airline CMD Arvind Jadhav as the standoff was becoming longer than expected. Jadhav had ruled out discussions with union till the strike is called-off.