New Delhi:  Turbulent times for Air India continued on Thursday with the agitation by AI pilots entering its third day. The passengers were worst hit as over 20 Air India flights were cancelled from Delhi and Mumbai on Thursday.

READ MORE:  AI pilots' strike illegal: Delhi HC


Despite the Delhi High Court declaring their stir as illegal, the pilots remained defiant and said the agitation would continue till their demands were met.

"Three international departures from Mumbai and 8 from Delhi have been cancelled due to non-availability of pilots", an Air India official said.

Around 12 international arrivals at Delhi airport were also cancelled, according to the website of Delhi airport.

Passengers were inconvenienced as airline officials were unable to accommodate them in others flights or give any concrete information on when their flights will take off.

From Delhi flights to Frankfurt, Shanghai, Toronto, New Jersey, Chicago and Seoul were cancelled while Air India flights to New York, Riyadh and Shanghai were not operating from Mumbai.


Taking a strong view of the agitation, the Air India management had on Wednesday sacked 26 more pilots. With this the number of sacked pilots has reached 36.

The pilots have been protesting against rescheduling of Boeing 787 Dreamliner training.


Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh on Thursday reaffirmed government's readiness to hold talks with the pilots and hoped that they would follow the High Court order declaring the stir illegal.

"High Court has given a very clear order. Let us hope that pilots follow the High Court judgement. Everything is negotiable but they must reach out to us first," Singh said.

Holding that interest of the airline and passengers was of paramount interest, the Minister said, "They must make sure that Air India does not lose credibility."

Singh said agitating pilots reported sick, even when it was well known that they were not.

"Air India is almost bankrupt. It is not able to pay salaries for months, not paid to airport authority and oil marketing companies," he said, adding the government is trying to revive Air India by infusing Rs 30,000 crore of "public money" over a period of time, but there are strings attached.

He held out the assurance that the Justice Dharmadhikari panel report, on integration of workforce of erstwhile Air India and Indian Airlines including promotions, would be discussed in a month or two and pilots would be actively involved.


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