Air India Strike Continues, Losses Mount to 330 Crore

Thursday, 31 May 2012, 09:27 Hrs
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New Delhi: The strike by pilots of national carrier Air India continued for the 24th day, pushing up the airline's losses to more than 330 crore.

"We have lost nearly 330 crore on account of ticket cancellation, unused labour and bulk of Boeing 777 fleet being grounded," an Air India official told IANS.

"We expect to stabilise our operations and cut the losses to less than 5 crore a day from June 2," he added.

"We have finished work on our interim plan which will be implemented from June 1. Under the new plan, several destinations where the load factors are quite low might be dropped for the time being."

The airline is expected to fully shift to the truncated interim schedule from June 1, dropping seven international destinations including Hong Kong, Osaka, Seoul and Toronto.

The airline will operate only 38 services instead of the regular 45.

According to the airline official, bookings for international destinations will also be tweaked.

Currently, the carrier is operating through a contingency plan under which a bare minimum number of flights are maintained by clubbing operations to various destinations in Europe and the US.

Air India has maintained that it has enough executive pilots to operate services to long-haul destinations in the US and Europe on some of the Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 aircraft.

The airline is said to be examining several proposals to restore the international operations which includes wet leasing aircraft from other airlines.

The proposal, according to officials, will include renting of aircraft with pilots and cabin crew.

"There is a proposal to wet lease at least five aircraft with pilots and crew. We require pilots and crews to maintain operations to key destinations in Europe, the US and Southeast Asia," said an official.

Trouble started for the airline May 8 when pilot-members of the Indian Pilots Guild took mass sick leave, protesting the move to provide Boeing-787 Dreamliner training to pilots from the erstwhile Indian Airlines.
Source: IANS
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