New Delhi, June 11 (IANS): National carrier Air India may go ahead and sack 300 striking pilots, an official said on Monday.
"The pilots are on an illegal strike since May. How long do they (pilots) expect us to wait for them to resume duty? If the situation remains the same, then the rest (300) of pilots may also be terminated. But this decision will be taken by the Air India management," Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh told IANS.
"Not only has the illegal strike caused severe losses to the airline but also wavered the trust of passengers from Air India. If they want to come back, then they are welcome."
When contacted, the striking aviators said they are studying the situation and currently on the stir. "We are looking at the situation. We all are together in this and our unity would not break. Our only demand right now is the reinstatement of our sacked colleagues and recognition of our union," a senior committee member in the now de-recognised union - Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) - told IANS.
Earlier, the Air India management had sacked 101 pilot-members of the IPG. The IPG, representing aviators of the erstwhile Air India, went on strike May 8 against the move to train their counterparts from Indian Airlines on the soon-to-be-inducted Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
The strike has crippled Air India's international operations, with the airline only operating 38 international flights from the original 45 services.
"Operations to northeast Asia has been hit badly, so have US and European services. Under the new scheme of things, we are trying to mitigate losses by operating to key destinations only," an Air India official said.