The strike by a section of pilots owing allegiance to the Indian Pilots' Guild on the issue of training for the Boeing-787 Dreamliner affected the national carrier's five international flights, including four of Air India Express, from Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode on Tuesday.
Keralites proceeding to the Gulf countries and other destinations on connection flights were the worst affected. Although the stir by the pilots without prior notice to the management commenced on Friday, the impact was felt in the State only on Tuesday.
Air India Express IX 548 Thiruvananthapuram-Muscat flight scheduled to depart at 9.20 a.m. from here was cancelled.
The IX 537 Thiruvananthapuram-Dubai-Abu Dhabi flight that was to depart at 5.15 p.m. could not take off as scheduled as its pilot reported sick. Airline sources said efforts were on to get a pilot from New Delhi to operate the flight later in the night.
The stranded passengers who were to proceed to Muscat were ferried in the flights of Oman Air and Jet Airways and via Mumbai in the Air India flights. The airline had also given the passengers the option of changing date of journey or taking refund.
The flights that were cancelled from Kozhikode were Air India Express IX 337 Kozhikode-Muscat-Sharjah (11 a.m.) and IX 389 Kozhikode-Kuwait that was to depart at 3.40 p.m. Air India also cancelled the AI 923 Kozhikode-Riyadh flight that was to depart at 3 p.m. The flight was to be operated using Jumbo aircraft.
The strike by the 500-strong Indian Pilots' Guild has affected the national carrier's international operations during the summer holiday season. The Mumbai-Newark, Delhi-Toronto and Delhi-Chicago flights were cancelled and this had put lot of hardship to those who had booked tickets in these flights. The national carrier had taken the decision to cancel the flights rather than operating the flights later.
The Supreme Court has backed the management's decision to send pilots from the erstwhile Indian Airlines for training on the Dreamliner. The guild had been laying exclusive claim to this aircraft.
Keywords: Air India pilots strike