The Delhi High Court Wednesday issued a contempt notice to the striking Air India pilots for not complying with its previous order restraining them from continuing with the strike.
The High Court's order was in response to Air India's contempt petition in the court demanding action against the striking pilots for defying the court order. Lalit Bhasin, counsel for the management of Air India, had filed the petition on behalf of the national carrier.
A single judge of the Delhi High Court May 9 declared the strike by the pilots of the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG), now a de-recognized union of Air India, as illegal and had asked them not to continue with the stir. However, the pilots refused to budge and persisted with the stir despite several requests from the government and the Air India management to join work.
The pilots affiliated to IPG began their strike 16 days ago, protesting against a training schedule for pilots to fly Boeing 787 Dreamliner which, they alleged, benefitted pilots from the erstwhile Indian Airlines.
The striking pilots have expressed their willingness to hold talks but are adamant that the management should agree to take back the sacked pilots.
We don't want our core demands to be met right now. Take back the pilots and give us an assurance that these demands will be discussed. ... We are not putting a gun on anyone's head or ever intend to do so. We are willing to join duty right now. It can be done in 15 minutes, IPG spokesman Tauseef Mukaddam said in a media conference in New Delhi Wednesday, PTI reported.
The airline has sacked 101 striking pilots for not showing up for work.
However, the government has made it clear that the pilots should come forward for unconditional talks.
We have again and again said we are willing to talk. But they don't want to. They are not willing to talk unconditionally. They have conditions. It is an illegal strike and there are no issues in this strike and the Air India management was taking whatever action they need to take, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said, according to PTI.
The 16-day-long strike has hit the airline badly as its losses from the canceled flights and other overheads from the strike crossed Rs 30 billion so far.
The airline's brand value and the market share were affected negatively as the strike has sent its schedules into disarray, causing severe inconvenience to the commuters.
IPG alleges the AI of Mismanagement and Fraud
The Indian Pilots Guild has accused the Air India management of committing financial irregularities to the tune of Rs 43.24 billion.
The IPG spokesman said that the management was responsible for the airlines losses as they scheduled the flights to unprofitable routes, without undertaking proper market research.
He said that the underutilization of aircraft was due to lack of planning.
CAPA Report Says Air India May Be Forced to Shut Down
In a report Wednesday, the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) said that it is highly likely that the national air carrier may be forced to shut down due to its human resource problems and unscientific planning and management.
The CAPA report said that the airline was entering a crucial period and the government would be forced to implement the Dharmadhikari report on HR issues which might trigger further strikes and revolts in the organization, forcing a temporary shutdown. The report recommended that Air India should shift to a viable model and should be put under special administration till its internal issues were resolved.