New Delhi/Mumbai, April 28 (IANS): Passengers continued to suffer as 53 Air India flights were cancelled on Thursday with the strike by around 600 pilots, earlier serving the Indian Airlines, entering the second day in defiance of a stay ordered by the Delhi High Court.
As per information available at airports across the country, 53 flights, mainly out of the national capital and Mumbai, were grounded Thursday; some 50 flights were either cancelled or re-scheduled the day earlier.
Thursday also saw the cancellation of some international flights, including those from the Capital to Kathmandu, Kabul and Dubai. Chaotic scenes were witnessed, particularly at the terminals in Delhi and Mumbai, as passengers frantically sought alternatives.
"I can understand the management's dilemma. But why should I be informed just the last moment that my flight is cancelled. I could have made some alternative arrangements," Sandeep Goyal, a passenger bound for Mumbai, said in the capital.
"Now the private carriers are taking advantage of the situation. A ticket that should cost around Rs 6,600 at the last moment, is now being sold for Rs 8,800," Goyal told IANS.
Members of the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA), once on the rolls of the erstwhile Indian Airlines, struck work midnight on Tuesday demanding parity in pay with their counterparts in Air India and other issues related to work conditions. They also demanded that the airline reinstate the six pilots who were sacked and two others who were suspended on Wednesday, and want the union to be recognised again and its offices de-sealed.
Appeals by Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi and Air India Chairman and Managing Director Arvind Jadhav, asking pilots to end the strike and come to the negotiating table, were in vain.