Govt asks AI pilots to end stir and come for talks
Civil Aviation Minister reached out to the Opposition to find ways to end the impasse which led to cancellation of 16 flights
Government today asked Air India pilots to end their five-day stir before coming for talks as Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh reached out to the Opposition to find ways to end the impasse which has led to the cancellation of at least 16 flights.
Leaders of the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG), spearheading the agitation on issues of career progression, said they were willing to hold talks with the government without any pre- condition to resolve the matter.
Singh asked the pilots to consider the plight of passengers and said "we are ready for talks but they must call off their strike".
"The first priority must be to make sure that the passengers feel they are being listened to. So let the pilots decide that. Ask for forgiveness from passengers. Start the flights ... We can talk on anything after that," Singh said.
He also reminded the pilots that Air India was almost bankrupt and public money was being pumped to revive the national carrier.
The Minister is meeting two of his Opposition predecessors, Shahnawaz Hussain and Rajiv Pratap Rudy, to find a way to resolve the crisis in the ailing national carrier.
At a press conference in Mumbai, IPG President Jeetendra Awhad and senior leader Tauseef Muqaddam said "the ball is in the government's court" and blamed the airline management for not giving a clear picture to the government.
A group of senior pilots also wrote a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and AI CMD Rohit Nandan supporting the pilots' demands and demanding that these "genuine" issues should be looked into.
Taking a tough stand, the Air India management had yesterday sacked 25 pilots. With this, the total number of pilots whose services have been terminated has gone upto 71.
Air India management has also written to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) asking it to cancel the licenses of 11 IPG office-bearers whose services have been terminated.
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