NEW DELHI: As the strike by Air India pilots entered the fifth day on Sunday, the national carrier reduced its operation to 40 flights across its network against the regular 165.
"We are continuing with our contingency plans and will be operating 40 domestic flights across the country today. We will be utilising Boeing 737 aircraft of our subsidiary Air India Express on some of the sectors," an Air India spokesperson said.
The national carrier will be operating 14 flights, including one each to Kathmandu and Dubai, on Sunday out of its scheduled 52 flights from the national capital.
The stand-off between striking pilots and Air India management continues with both sides refusing to budge from their respective stand.
Agitating pilots say they have not received any formal invitation for talks from the Air India management, which on the other hand is waiting for the Delhi High Court’s decision on the contempt of court proceedings against the Indian Commercial Pilot Association leaders.
The ICPA is spearheading the agitation in which over 800 pilots and executive pilots are participating.
Meanwhile, the Air India CMD, Mr Arvind Jadhav today sent SMS to employees of the national carrier to "persuade" striking pilots to return to the negotiating table and work to "save our airline."
Mr Jadhav said the Indian Commercial Pilots Association struck "work illegally for pay increase and parity, thus threatening our survival."
"This is when a Supreme Court judge is studying this issue. Risking our airline’s survival at this time is criminal. We all condemn corruption in public life, and culprits must be punished," he said.
He said all actions against which the pilots are agitating occurred many years ago, for which the current administration cannot be held responsible.
"In order to save our Airline, I appeal to you to cooperate and to persuade our pilot friends to return to work, and discussions – let us start afresh," Mr Jadhav said in the SMS.
The strike by Air India pilots entered the fifth day today forcing the national carrier to slash its operation to 40 flights across its network from the regular 165.
800-odd pilots, belonging to the erstwhile Indian Airlines owing allegiance to Indian Commercial Pilots Association, have been on an indefinite strike from the midnight of April 26 demanding pay hike.