Mumbai: Striking Air India pilots got backing from a global pilots' body which extended them support and sought intervention of Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to end the deadlock that entered the 52nd day on Thursday.

In a letter to DGCA chief E K Bharat Bhushan, International Federation of Air Line Pilots' Association (IFALPA) said, "It is our view that DGCA, as the responsible regulator, is in a unique position and can make a very positive contribution towards ending this dispute.

"We would ask you to use your good offices to bring both sides back to the negotiating table so that the differing views can be resolved," IFALPA President Capt Don Wykoff said in the letter. IFALPA claims to represent over 100,000 professional pilots in more than 90 countries worldwide.

Wykoff also said, "Whilst it is not our role to sit in judgement as to the rights and wrongs of the dispute that seem centred on issues arising from the Air India and Indian Airlines merger, we feel a duty to make every effort to find a solution which is both fair and acceptable to both sides."

Observing that the industry was passing through difficult times, he said Air India and its pilots were "locked in a bitter dispute rather than pulling together to see the company flying and producing the revenue which would be to the benefit of all. This is a very sad situation that is showing no signs of resolution and is surely in no one's interests."

In a separate communication, IFALPA Deputy President Capt Philippe Raffin asked all members worldwide not to allow Air India to wet lease aircraft, deny it training facilities and disallow global recruitment.

"Unfortunately, the company (Air India), rather than seeking to address the concerns of its pilots, has reacted in a very aggressive manner" by sacking 101 pilots and getting some of their licenses cancelled, he said.

(Agencies)

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