Having failed to bring the pilots around to the negotiating table as the strike entered the fifth day on Sunday, Air India (AI) Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) Arvind Jadhav, dispatched text messages (SMS) to over 30,000 airline employees urging the striking pilots to come for talks.
"In order to save our airline, I appeal to you to cooperate and to persuade our pilot friends to return to work and discussions - let us start afresh," Jadhav said in the SMS to AI employees.
Jadhav said the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) struck work illegally for pay increase and parity, thus, threatening the airline's survival.
However, the management is itself adamant not to initiate talks with the agitating pilots. When asked, an AI official said they were waiting for the Delhi High Hourt's decision on the contempt of court proceedings against the ICPA pilots. The high court will take up criminal proceedings against the agitators on Monday.
Meanwhile, nearly 90 per cent of Air India's domestic operations were hit on Sunday as the airline was able to operate only 40 of the 320 daily flights on the fifth day of the strike. The national carrier said it has planned the same curtailed service for the next week as well. However, the company's operation in the other three sectors - regional (Alliance Air), gulf (Air India Express) and AI wide body (international) - remain normal.
|Flying into Turbulent Zone|
The Air India management has not made any moves to initiate talks with the agitating pilots
Delhi High Court to take up criminal proceedings against pilots on Monday
AI expects curtailed service for the next week
The company has put into operation nine wide-bodied aircraft to transport stranded passengers
Agitating pilots say they have not received any formal invitation for talks
Pilots demand higher pay, investigation into alleged mismanagement and removal of CMD Arvind Jadhav
The airline has already sacked and suspended nine pilots, including a senior executive pilot