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Air India cancels 14 flights as stir by pilots continues

Source: PTI
Last updated on: September 28, 2009 17:07 IST
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Air India on Monday cancelled 14 flights from the national capital as a section of the agitating executive pilots refused to accept the management's proposal to set up a committee to look into their grievances and continued with their stir.

The airline cancelled 12 domestic flights to Bangalore, Varanasi, Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Leh, Nagpur, Raipur, Bhubaneshwar, Chandigarh, Hyderabad and Tirupati besides two international ones to Bangkok and Kabul after the pilots of these flights did not report to work, an airlines' official said.

The national carrier operates over 50 flights from the national capital, but yesterday they decided to run just 27 flights out which only 18 were operated.

In a bid to buy peace with its agitating executive pilots, Air India last night put on hold the cut in the pilots Productivity-Linked Incentives(PLI), which triggered the stir, and decided to form a seven-member committee to look into the modalities in the cut in the PLIs.

But representative of the agitating executive pilots, Captain V K Bhalla refused to accept the proposal, saying the management will first have to pay the due flying allowance and PLIs of three month to all pilots and withdraw the order of cut in their PLIs.

"If they pay us our dues, then a neutral platform for talks would be set up and then we will go for any talks," Bhalla told PTI.

Air India climbs down, to set up panel on pay cut

The National Aviation Company Ltd, or Nacil, which runs state-owned Air India, today agreed to form a committee to look into the productivity-linked incentive (PLI), or flying allowance, paid to executive pilots. The executive pilots will get full salary until the committee comes out with its report.

This is a softening of stand by the Nacil management, which had on Wednesday announced a cut in PLI ranging from 25 per cent to 50 per cent. This was a trigger for pilots to go on a not-so-successful strike.

Some executive pilots have not reported for work since Friday night, disrupting 34 out of 400 flights on Saturday.

Sunday's announcement came after a three-hour meeting between the management and 20 executive pilots in Mumbai.

However, V K Bhalla, the representative of the agitating executive pilots, said the pilots in Mumbai were never a part of the agitation, so they could not negotiate. "Pilots in Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai will continue their agitation and will report sick," he said.

The committee will consist of executive director (finance), executive director (industrial relations), general manager (operations) and representatives of the agitating executive pilots.

"The airline will set up a committee to look into all concerns on the PLI cut raised by the agitating pilots. The committee will discuss all the modalities," said Jetendra Bhargava, executive director, corporate communication, Air India.

The pilots said they would try to bring the operations back to normal.

"The committee will look into the PLI modalities and we have been assured that till it comes out with a decision our salary structure will remain the same as it was earlier," said an executive pilot who attended the meeting.

The airline said it had cancelled flights on sectors with low passenger load and with alternative flights, either by itself or by other airlines.

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