Monday, May 2, 2011

AI pilots continue tug of war, HC defers decision

New Delhi: The six-day Air India pilots’ strike threatened to continue after the high court deferred its decision on the matter till Tuesday. The management and pilots failed to come to any consensus with both sides sticking adamantly to their positions. The airline operated 40 flights in its domestic sector on Monday and has suffered aloss of about Rs 30 crore in the six-day period.
“You both lost an opportunity. We cannot guarantee what will be our decision now. The leniency we are showing today may not be there tomorrow,” remarked an exasperated division bench of justices B D Ahmed and Veena Birbal, after the representatives of the striking pilots and the AI management failed to resolve their differences despite many rounds of talks between them at court's prodding. The Bench told the management to reinstate pilots it had sacked in a “give and take policy” while asking the pilots to “call off the strike, we will press the management to consider your demand”.
However, as Air India maintained before the court that it was ready to consider the pilots' demand sympathetically, but couldn’t be forced to accept a precondition, the pilots too refuse to end their strike and the matter had to be adjourned for another hearing on Tuesday.
Aviation minister Vayalar Ravi reiterated that there will be no talks with the striking pilots till they call off the strike. He dismissed BJP’s charge of AI CMD Arvind Jadhav bypassing the ministry and reporting to the PMO. “I am the minister. I brief the PM on Monday, no one else. This is BJP’s political conspiracy to target the PMO,” the minister said. He added that the government will abide by the judicial verdict in the contempt of court proceeding initiated on the plea of the Air India management.

Don’t charge exhorbitant fares: DGCA to airlines

New Delhi: Government on Monday directed private airlines not to charge exorbitant fares from passengers hit by the Air India pilots’ strike, with regulator Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) warning of action in case it found a big fare hike by any carrier. “Our prime concern is passengers’ convenience. The DGCA called a meeting to impress upon private airlines not to charge exorbitant fares and to cooperate with the government at this hour of crisis,” civil aviation minister Vayalar Ravi told mediapersons here. “Government cannot and will not agree to any such situation,” he said. PTI

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