As Air India pilots’ strike entered the fifth day, the Government on Saturday reached out to the Opposition parties to discuss ways out of the impasse.

Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh has invited his predecessors Sharad Yadav, Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Shahnawaz Hussain for informal talks on the ongoing strike, sources said.

Indicating support to the government on the issue, Mr. Rudy said, “The argument given by the erstwhile Air India pilots is bizarre. No Government will support them.”

He was of the view that common people could not be harassed because of the strike.

On Saturday, the national carrier cancelled 16 flights from here and Mumbai even as senior pilots sought the Prime Minister’s intervention to end the impasse.

“Sixteen of our flights originating from Delhi and Mumbai have been cancelled,” an AI spokesperson said.

About 200 pilots owing allegiance to the Indian Pilots’ Guild are on strike since Tuesday protesting rescheduling of training on Dreamliner and issues related to career progression.

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.

AI has also written to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) asking it to cancel the licenses of 11 office bearers of the IPG whose services have been terminated.

The IPG has said that they are ready for talks and have sought time for a meeting with Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh.

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