NEW DELHI: With around 20 flights being cancelled due to the pilot’s strike, Air India management on Wednesday moved swiftly to derecognise their union ICPA and declaring their strike illegal.
Around eight flights from Delhi and 11 from Mumbai were cancelled on Wednesday morning while several others were delayed by more than three hours after a section of Air India pilots, belonging to Indian Commercial Pilot’s Association (ICPA), went on strike from midnight.
"We have derecognised the ICPA, the strike is illegal and they have committed contempt of court. We are likely to move the court soon," a senior officer said.
The ICPA offices in Delhi and Mumbai have been sealed early this morning.
To tide over the crisis, the AI management has decided to rope in 150 management pilots – executive pilots – to operate the flights.
The ICPA gave the letter intimating about strike to the CMD on Tuesday night after their conciliation with the management before the Chief Labour Commissioner failed.
The 800-odd pilots belong to the erstwhile Indian Airlines and owe allegiance to the ICPA.
The merged entity – Indian Airlines and Air India – has about 1,200 pilots. The ICPA claims that while the Air India pilots enjoy a big fixed salary component, the same is almost minuscule for the former IA pilots.
The Association claims that while their entire pay package depends on the hours they fly every day, the airlines has been curtailing the number of flights by 30 to 40 per cent.
"The management has appealed to the pilots to restrain themselves and not go in for the irresponsible act, especially when the process of conciliation is on," an Air India spokesperson said.
He said the Government, the Civil Aviation Ministry and all stakeholders are seriously involved in resolving the issue.
The Justice Dharmadhikari committee, formed to look into HR related issues of Air India, has started functioning from this Monday and it is expected to submit its recommendations in three months, he said.
Meanwhile, the strike by about 800 pilots of Air India began to show its impact with the national carrier cancelling 24 flights from the city today, leaving passengers in the lurch.
While three services to Kathmandu were cancelled, four flights were called off on the busy Delhi-Mumbai route. Air India also cancelled flights to Srinagar, Leh, Jammu and Nagpur. Several flights were also cancelled from Mumbai including services to Aurangabad and Gwalior.
"Twenty-four flights have been cancelled, seven have been combined. 129 flights have been operated," an airline official said.
A section of Air India pilots, belonging to the erstwhile Indian Airlines, went on strike from midnight demanding pay parity with other pilots of the national carrier and better working conditions.
To tide over the crisis, AI has drawn up a contingency plan, which includes roping in of executive pilots to operate flights and it will be effected from tomorrow, the official said.
The 800-odd striking pilots owe allegiance to the Indian Commercial Pilot’s Association (ICPA). The merged entity — Indian Airlines and Air India — has about 1,200 pilots.
The remaining 400 pilots who mostly operate international flights belong to the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG).