New Delhi: Air India’s impasse continues on Tuesday with its pilots ongoing strike enters eighth consequtive day. As of now, there appears to be no sign of a compromise between the pilots on strike and the management of the national carrier. The passengers' woes are mounting with day-by-day, as 24 flights have been cancelled overnight. Yesterday, 14 international flights were cancelled.

The management also has been handed over medical reports of the pilots, who started the agitation by calling in sick. In New Delhi, a team of doctors were sent to all the pilots' homes to check on the veracity of their claims of being sick. As per reports, many pilots' home were locked, many others weren't at their homes. The report also mentions how many pilots told the medical team about 'toothaches' and 'cavities in the teeth' as reasons for their absence.

At airports across the country, fewer people are now turning up even as Air India has extended the bar on bookings for its West-bound flights till Thursday. Reports suggest that it is mulling over the option of shutting down global operations till a resolution is found to the pilots' strike.

The Board, which met in Delhi, approved a plan to raise Rs. 5,000 crore over 10 years by monetising its assets to repay loans extended to it by the government and it lenders.

"As per the plan approved by the government, Air India plans to monetise Rs. 5,000 crore over 10 years to support its Financial Restructuring Plan at an average of Rs. 500 crore per year," a statement from Air India said.

Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh, meanwhile, said that the pilots will have to call off strike to have talks. "We have taken a very reasonable stand. It's not a strict stand. The passengers have been suffering because of the strike. The pilots will have to call off strike to have talks," he said.

The Air India management has sacked a total of 76 pilots over the last six days for not reporting to work. It has also written to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) asking it to cancel the licenses of 11 office bearers of the Indian Pilots Guild or IPG whose services have been terminated. But despite the strict action, the pilots continue to remain defiant.

JPN

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