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Air India pilots willing to reume work

CNN-IBN
Sep 30, 2009 at 10:15am IST

New Delhi: The Air India crisis is likely to end soon with pilots saying they are willing to return to work following assurances by Chairman and Managing Director Arvind Jadhav to look into their grievances.

Sources say executive pilots are waiting for a call by Air India management to joining work.

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However, Air India has already cancelled 34 Air India flights even as the deadline for pilots to rejoin work ends on Wednesday.

WAITING TO TAKE OFF: Striking pilots have been demanding that their incentives should not be cut.

Out of 34 cancelled flights 30 are domestic while four are international flights.

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Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel had on Tuesday issued a stern warning to the striking pilots that they must join work or face action.

"Please, cooperate. Join your duties. I hope the entire airline will come back to full operation from tomorrow, failing which the management will be free to take any decision that it feels is necessary," Patel warned the pilots.

Before issuing the warning Patel had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The Prime Minister had met Air India CMD Jadhav and Civil Aviation Secretary MM Nambiar and asked them to find a solution soon.

But the striking pilots have been claiming that Patel had not been informed correctly about their plight.

"The minister is informed wrongly. This is the bank statement of a pilot and it says 23,000 which doesn't include PLI and salary allowances," said VK Bhalla, who is leading the executive pilots' protest, while reportedly showing the bank account statement of a pilot.

Jadhav on Monday also ruled out shutting down the operations and appealed to the pilots to return back to work.

"We are not contemplating this type of action that will lead us to a situation where we are required to discipline anybody or a lockout. What we are really doing is that though a lot of pilots have been declaring themselves as sick or they are not reporting, based upon the resources which we have we are looking at how many flights we can operate the next day. Keeping this assessment on an hourly basis we are trying to look at 24 hours and 48 hours in advance," said Jadhav when asked is lockout was an option.

Many executive pilots have reported sick and stayed away from duty since Friday night after Air India management decided to implement a cut in their productivity-linked incentives (PLI) as a cost-cutting exercise.

The pilots have been saying they will not rejoin duty till their demands to roll back the cuts in PLI and release their dues are met by the management.

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