Airport staff adamant on strike
Airport operations across the country will come to a halt this midnight as employees on Tuesday vowed to launch an indefinite strike after their demand to continue operations of the existing Bangalore and Hyderabad airports was rejected.
"We are firm on our decision to launch an indefinite 'non-cooperation movement' from Tuesday midnight if the government doesn't roll back its decision to close down the (existing) Bangalore and Hyderabad airports," said MK Ghoshal, a spokesman of the Airport Authority Employees Joint Forum.
Two greenfield airports in the two cities are slated to start working later this month and the government will close down operations at the existing airports in accordance with a contract with the private developers of the new airports.
The forum decided to go on a nationwide strike after their talks with Civil Aviation Secretary Ashok Chawla failed late Monday.
A civil aviation ministry spokesman told IANS that there were no talks between the government and the employees union Tuesday.
Since the AAI manages 127 airports across the country, it is feared that passengers could face a harrowing time due to delay in flight movements.
The strike is likely to have immediate effect as a large number of international flights take off in the early hours from various airports around the country.
Airport Authority of India (AAI) officials refused to comment on the arrangements, if any, they were making to avoid inconvenience to passengers.
However, officials at Delhi airport said they had sufficient resources and manpower to handle any situation.
Meanwhile, ministry officials said the inauguration of the Bangalore airport has been delayed for a short while due to safety concerns and poor road connectivity between it and the city centre.
The airport was scheduled to start operations March 30.
The officials said the new airport at Hyderabad city would commence operations March 14, as per schedule.