Over 100 Air India pilots have gone on a strike since midnight citing health concerns. The timing is crucial as it comes right after talks with the airline management broke down.
According to reports, over 100 Air India pilots in Delhi and Mumbai, who are associated with the Indian Pilots Guild have called in sick and the number is expected to go up by another 200 today.
Four international flights have been cancelled so far today. These include flights from Delhi to Chicago, from Mumbai to New Jersey, from Delhi to Toronto and from Delhi to Hong Kong, reported CNN-IBN.
The cancellations led to several angry passengers, who were left stranded at the airports.
"The management (Air India) completely backtracked from what had been agreed upon in the last 2-3 days. Therefore, we are left with no option but to intensify our agitation," sources told PTI on Monday.
Earlier, the management held a meeting with the pilots in New Delhi in its bid to defuse the crisis, arising out of the rescheduling of the dreamliners training programme.
On Saturday, a section of pilots reported sick, apparently to protest the move, resulting in the cancellation of one international flight and delaying another two by almost 16 hours.
It is understood that during their meeting on Monday, the airline management told the pilots that they had no reasons to strike work at a time when the government had announced a bailout package for the national carriers.
The management is also said to have told the pilots to wait for a solution till the Justice DM Dharamadhikari Committee report is implemented by the government.
The IPG pilots, who belong to the pre-merger Air India, are protesting the management's decision to train their colleagues from the erstwhile Indian Airlines on flying the long-haul Dreamliner plane, the first of which is expected to arrive later this month.
The former Indian Airlines pilots, represented by the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA), had moved court earlier protesting that the airline was only sending the erstwhile Air India cockpit crew for training on the B-787s.
The Supreme Court had ruled that that the management would deploy an equal number of pilots from both erstwhile Indian Airlines and Air India.
The Guild says it is not opposed to equal representation but wants a solution to the numerous problems which will arise out of the issue including IPG pilots carrier progression prospects.
Meanwhile, the Delhi High Court will take up further hearing on a petition filed by the ICPA on Boeing 777 training schedule.
With inputs from PTI