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AAI strike: Flights not hit, but rubbish piles up at airports

Agencies
Mar 13, 2008 at 03:31pm IST

New Delhi: Domestic and international flight operations across the country were normal on Thursday, but airport services were hit as the indefinite strike by airport employees against closure of Bangalore and Hyderabad airports entered the second day.

Used coffee and tea cups, empty water bottles and waste paper piled up at airports and passengers complained of dirty toilets. The strike, however, has had no impact on flight schedules, Delhi airport officials said.

In Chennai, flight operations remain unaffected. Airport officials said 17 flights left for various destinations, including Delhi and Mumbai, while 13 arrived in the domestic sector and over 20 flights were operated as scheduled in the international sector up to 10 am.

STRIKE-HIT: Piles of rubbish littered airports and passengers complained of dirty toilets.

However, waste material remained uncleared at the international arrival terminal and domestic arrival and departure terminals with the maintenance workers participating in the agitation.

But there was no such problem in the international departure terminal as the work there was being done by private contractors.

The members of the Airports Authority of India Employees Union, who began the stir on Wednesday, assembled in front of the airport terminal and continued their protest.

In Mumbai, an airport spokesman said flight and airport operations were unaffected. Flight operations continued to be normal at the Bangalore Airport even as the non-cooperation stir launched by AAI Employees Joint Forum entered the second day.

AAI Director Narendra Kaushal said that "everything is fine and normal". There was also no disruption in the ground level services outsourced in the terminal building at the Bangalore airport.

All the vital operations, including the manning of the Air Traffic Control, in the Bangalore Airport are being controlled by HAL Authorities. "There has been no significant effect on flight and airport operations," a spokesperson for Mumbai International Airport said.

Officials at the critical Air Traffic Control have not joined the strike as they are not members of the union while the outsourced ground handling and housekeeping staff continued with their work.

In the event of shortage of staff for emergency services, personnel from Indian Air Force have been placed on standby, the spokesperson added.

Security has been beefed up as 479 Air Force personnel in 21 key airports across the country have been deployed and ESMA has been involved at the Delhi airport in the wake of the strike call.

The employees are protesting against moves to privatize some airports and demandiang among other things a comprehensive pension scheme and immediate filling up of vacancies

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