Air Sahara services to be normal
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Air Sahara services to be normal

After three days of uncertainty, flights of the aviation major are expected to function normally from Wednesday.

india Updated: Feb 15, 2006 02:48 IST

After three days of uncertainty, flights of aviation major Air Sahara are expected to function normally from Wednesday, the airlines' spokesman said on Tuesday.

Talks are on with the remaining six pilots who went on 'sick leave' and in all probability, flights would start functioning normally from Wednesday, he added.

About 10 odd flights of Air Sahara were cancelled on Tuesday while 13 were suspended on Monday.

Six pilots continued to be on leave for the third day on Tuesday, echoing fears of their seniority being violated following the airline's takeover by Jet Airways.

Among the flights cancelled included Jammu-Delhi-Delhi, Delhi-Pune-Delhi, Hyderabad-Delhi, Singapore-Delhi and three on the Kolkata-Delhi sector.

An Air Sahara official had said on Monday about seven pilots held talks with Seemanto Roy, who recently took charge of the business activities of the airlines.

However, there was no word on the outcome of the meeting.

The airline has 280 pilots and offers 140 daily flights with a fleet comprising 19 classic and new generation Boeings 300s, 400s, 700s and 800s, seven CRJ-200 regional jets and B767s.

Air Sahara, which was sold to Jet Airways last month for 500 million dollars (about Rs 2,300 crore), had to accommodate its passengers in Jet Airways, Kingfisher Airlines and the public sector Indian following the sudden strike by 30 pilots on February 12.

Asked whether legal action would be taken against the pilots, Air Sahara's executive Vice-President Alok Sharma said, "There's no need as they were on sick leave. But if there is any mala fide, we will take necessary action."

On Sunday last, nearly 30 senior pilots went on mass casual leave, putting hundreds of passengers to inconvenience as its operations to and from major cities went haywire.

Air Sahara pilots said nothing has been spelt out about their status after the change in ownership. The deal makes Jet Airways the country's largest airline -- larger than Indian -- with a fleet of 90 aircraft.

However, industry sources said many Air Sahara pilots have put in their papers and are planning to join either Indian or new budget airline Indigo, which has placed an order for 100 Airbus aircraft and will start operations by July this year.

Although there is little chance of Air Sahara pilots losing their jobs, they probably apprehend step-motherly treatment in the new set-up, the sources added .

The airline, which began operations just months after Jet Airways started in 1993, is part of the 12 billion dollars (about Rs 52,800 crore) Sahara Pariwar group that has interests spanning para-banking, finance, housing, power and media.

First Published: Feb 14, 2006 22:32 IST