July 03, 2012
A nearly two-month strike by Air India’s pilots has ended after the airline assured them it will “sympathetically consider” their concerns about assigning pilots to the carrier’s Boeing 787 fleet and the reinstatement of some 100 pilots fired during the work action.
“The strike has been called off with immediate effect. The striking pilots will report to work within 48 hours from July 3 by submitting a joining report,” an Air India lawyer tells Aviation Week.
“The flight duties will be assigned thereafter,” he adds.
More than 400 pilots of the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) have been on strike since May 7, making this the second-longest work action in the country’s aviation history.
IPG’s members have been protesting the company’s decision to train pilots from Indian Airlines’ ranks for the 27 787 aircraft due to join the carrier’s fleet. They argue this decision hinders their career prospects, and insist that 787 aircraft training be restricted to Air India’s legacy pilots, who were historically assigned to the airline’s international fleet.
As a result, the airline dismissed pilots, de-recognized the IPG and canceled several overseas flights.
The strike is estimated to have cost the airline 2.5 billion rupees ($45 million) in lost revenue.
Last month, India’s federal aviation ministry recommended a uniform pay scale for all pilot groups at Air India to resolve a dispute that has raged since Air India was merged with Indian Airlines in 2007.
That proposal is likely to be implemented this month.