Mumbai: With no end in sight to the strike by a section of Air India pilots which entered the 15th day on Tuesday, the airline management has extended its contingency plan of curtailed operations to June 1.

"The contingency plan that we have put in place has now been extended to June 1 from May 25," Air India sources said.

Besides, the bookings are being accepted only for those flights which are being operated under the contingency plan, they said.

Under the plan, which Air India implemented on May 16 following the strike by its over 200 pilots owing allegiance to the now-derecognised Indian Pilots Guild (IPG), the national carrier is operating a bare minimum number of international operations by clubbing flights to destinations in Europe and the US.

Consequently, Air India continued operating a curtailed international schedule, flying seven West-bound flights instead of normal 16 daily flights.

The airline has so far lost more than Rs 250 crore due to the agitation by over 200-odd pilots, who have not been flying for the past 15 days despite the management terminating the services of 100-odd agitating pilots in last two weeks.

The government wants the pilots to first join back duties and then come to the negotiating table to resolve their issues, while the IPG maintains that the management should first take back all sacked pilots, as a pre-condition to end their agitation.

Trying to find a way out to resolve the deadlock, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh had met leaders of 10 recognised unions of Air India in Delhi yesterday and appealed to them to persuade the IPG to call off their agitation.


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