Air India pilots end 10-day-old strike

AP News
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Posted: May 06, 2011 2:39 PM
Air India pilots end 10-day-old strike

Nearly 800 Air India pilots demanding more pay ended their 10-day-old strike on Friday, which cost the state-run airline around 12 million rupees ($2.7 million) a day, officials said.

The pilots' demands would be considered by the management in the coming days, Arvin Jadhav, the top airline official, told reporters.

The striking pilots would resume flying from midnight Friday, said Rasabh Kapoor, a spokesman for the pilots' association, after three rounds of talks with airline officials.

A statement by Air India said it transferred about 20,000 domestic and more than 9,500 international passengers to other carriers since the beginning of the strike.

It also said that while 90 percent of domestic routes were affected, international flights still operated between India and the United States, Europe, China and the Middle East. The airline has been hiring chartered flights for some routes.

The pilots are demanding higher pay, an investigation into alleged mismanagement leading to losses of over 160 billion rupees ($3.6 billion), and removal of Jadhav as the airline's managing director.

Last week, the Delhi High Court ordered the 800 striking pilots to call off their action, saying it was "brazen and smacking of sheer arrogance," and launched contempt of court proceedings when they refused to go back to work.

India's once-proud national carrier has been losing about a billion dollars a year as it struggles with the legacy of a poorly executed 2007 merger, debt costs, a swollen staff and a toxic gulf between management and powerful unions.

The government extended hundreds of millions in bailout funds last year to help the company weather the global economic slowdown and compete with international rivals.