Govt promises action on report on AI issues in 2 mths

Air India
New Delhi, May 20: As the strike by Air India pilots entered the 12th day, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh today promised action in two months on a report which dealt with some of their problems and renewed his appeal to them to return to work.

The fresh appeal came even as flights of the state-owned airline's subsidiary AI Express continued to be affected, though not severely. The airline's curtailed international flight schedules, however, operated normally, official sources said.

"Dharmadhikari report(on AI merger) has come and it will be implemented in two months after having talks with them. Therefore at this time I will again appeal them to come back to work," Ajit said while talking to the reporters after inaugurating a new terminal in Lucknow.

"We are making efforts to resolve the situation...I will appeal to the pilots that they should think about the passengers," he said. The stir has already cost the ailing national carrier Rs 200 crore.

The report is stated to have made suggestions like allowing pilots of AI and IA to be cross-utilized for all aircraft in the merged airline's fleet, while having different seniority criteria for them. It also reportedly suggested bringing about pay parity between employees of the now merged AI and Indian Airlines.

The minister pointed out that the strike by AI pilots has been declared illegal by the High Court.

"Whatever problems they have...When Dharmadhikari report would be discussed talks will be held on all those problems, then there is no reason that they are observing strike," Ajit said.

"They should come back on work..Whatever their problems are..Whatever their demands are, they all will be considered." The minister said his objective was to revive Air India.

An average of six AI Express flights were being cancelled daily, but there was not much of a problem as the stranded passengers were being transferred to regular flights of the parent company to the Gulf and Southeast Asia, official sources said.


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