Even as the Air India management dismissed 10 more pilots on Wednesday, the Delhi High Court barred the airline's pilots from reporting sick or staging demonstrations and the government expressed its willingness to talk to the agitating pilots after they report for duty.
Ten pilots were sacked on Tuesday, the first day of the stir by those owing allegiance to the Indian Pilots Guild.
Four international flights, two each from Delhi and Mumbai, were cancelled on Wednesday, an Air India spokesperson said.
“If you have grievances, we can talk, but discussions and disruptions cannot take place simultaneously. They should withdraw their strike and apologise to the passengers,” Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said while talking to journalists here. He said the government had a “back-up plan” to deal with the strike.
Expressing concern over the fragile financial health of the cash-strapped national carrier, Mr. Singh said: “Air India is almost bankrupt. It is not able to pay salaries for months; it has not paid to the Airport Authority of India and oil marketing companies. The government is trying to revive it by infusing Rs.30,000 crore of public money over a period of time, but there are strings attached to it.''
The agitation figured in Parliament, with members demanding an early resolution of the crisis and a long-term settlement.
In the Lok Sabha, Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI) demanded that the government take concrete steps to revive the airline and stop patronising private players.
In the Rajya Sabha, Ram Chandra Khuntia (Congress) said that even after a huge financial package was given to the airline, salaries of pilots and other staff were not paid and passengers were facing serious problems.
The pilots are sore over the rescheduling of soon-to-be inducted Boeing 787 Dreamliner training and matters relating to their career growth.