Visit Indian Travel Sites
Jammu & Kashmir
|May 10, 2012|
Kingfisher pilots go on strike; Air India cancels long haul international flights
New Delhi: Delhi-based pilots of private carrier Kingfisher Airlines
have reportedly refused to fly over alleged non-payment of outstanding dues, and it is expected that the airline's pilots based in Mumbai will join the protest later this evening. The Kingfisher pilots agitation comes even as national carrier
Air India announced that it would be cancelling long distance international flights,
and even some domestic flights. Airport authorities in Delhi and Mumbai have warned
that if the pilots opt to stay away from their flight duties for an extended period,
Kingfisher flight schedules could be severely affected, and passengers inconvenienced.
"From the Mumbai airport only a flight, the morning one to Chennai, was cancelled
and it was for operational reasons," said a Mumbai International Airport Pvt Ltd
spokesperson. Kingfisher is now the smallest airline in Indian in terms of market
share and number of flights operated/day. Kingfisher pilots have been calling
in sick, as they believes the airline management is reneging on its promise to
pay pending salaries. "The management has been blatantly lying to us. They told
us that they have deposited the money for our salaries in the bank," one pilot
was quoted, as saying. "However, when we checked with the banks, they revealed
that not a cent has been deposited towards our salary payments," he added. The
pilots had earlier planned to agitate from Monday onwards. But the airline chairman
Vijay Mallya wrote a letter saying that the salary for the month of January will
be paid on May 9. With the deadline gone and no payment done, the agitation began
Over twenty Air India flights were cancelled Thursday from Delhi and Mumbai as the pilots strike entered its third day. Despite the Delhi High Court declaring the pilot
stir illegal, they remained defiant and said the agitation would continue till
their demands were met.
According to the Delhi airport web site, around 12 international
arrivals were cancelled. From Delhi , flights departing for Frankfurt, Shanghai
, Toronto, New Jersey, Chicago and Seoul were cancelled, while Air India flights
to New York, Riyadh and Shanghai did not take off from Mumbai. The Air India
management has so far sacked 36 more pilots. It had earlier argued before the
court that inter-union rivalry between Air India and the Indian Airlines was the
reason for the strike. According to the management, there were two aircrafts at
the centre of the controversy - the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Boeing 777 -
and who should be trained on them. The unions were not in agreement whether pilots
from Air India or Indian Airlines should be trained on the two aircraft. A decision
was taken that the training on the Dreamliner would be in the ratio 1:1 and that
had already begun. Aggrieved by this decision, the Indian Pilots Guild moved the
High Court and the Indian Commercial Pilots Association moved the Supreme Court.
On April 23, the Supreme Court said that the training in the 1:1 ratio would continue.
Despite this order, the Indian Pilots Guild went on strike as a pressure tactic
against the training parity. Union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh has
warned that the government might consider downsizing the national carrier if the
agitation by the pilots continued. "Government has given them Rs.30,000 crore
of public money but that is not without strings. They have to prove their worth.
Let me point out the example of Kingfisher. They downsized and since then they
are doing fine. Air India only has 17 per cent market share. The pilots must look
at this also," Singh said.
More Travel News Headlines