Even as Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh asked Air India unions to help end the strike by pilots, which entered the 14th day on Monday, the national carrier continued to incur loss, running to Rs. 230 crore.
The cancellation of bookings, the bulk of Boeing-777 fleet stands grounded and other labour issues have contributed to a loss of Rs. 230 crore. “The average daily loss is anything between Rs.13 crore and Rs. 15 crore,” officials said. The strike has caused hardship to passengers, who have been forced to spend endless time at the airports with the hope of getting on to the next possible flight.
On Monday, the strike showed signs of breaking, with two pilots returning to work. This has taken the number of pilots returning to work to five.
In the meantime, Mr. Singh met the representatives of 10 unions in a bid to end the impasse.
He sought their support to restore the financial health of the carrier. “I had called the leaders of the unions to listen to their views and understand their problems. We discussed the current situation facing Air India, the turnaround and financial restructuring plans and the airline's future,” Mr. Singh told journalists after the 90-minute meeting.
He said the recommendations of the Dharmadhikari Committee, which went into all issues pertaining to human resource integration, such as pay parity and career growth, would be implemented only after the government consulted all the unions.
The unions urged Mr. Singh to come out with a compromise and give an assurance that the dismissed pilots would be reinstated.