As the agitation by protesting pilots entered the fourth day today, 12 Air India international flights were cancelled even as the Civil Aviation Minister hoped that the airline "does not enter the ICU".
"All our long haul flights to US, Europe, Riyadh and Jeddah have been cancelled", an Air India official said. "This has been done due to non-availability of pilots who are on mass sick leave since Tuesday."
Long overhaul flights to New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Toronto, Frankfurt, London, Paris from Delhi and Mumbai were cancelled. The national carrier has stopped bookings till May 15 on its flights to US, Europe and Riyadh.
With pilots remaining defiant, the Air India management had yesterday sacked 9 more pilots.
Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh expressed hope that pilots will "get well soon as they are sick. Air India is sick and I hope it doesn't reach ICU".
Noting that the aviation industry and Air India are passing through a tough phase due to high price of ATF, high service tax along with Airport charges and others, Singh said he will take up the issue with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
On the problems facing Kingfisher, he said, "Kingfisher is a private company and they will have to sort out their problem themselves."