Jet cancels 281 flights as strike intensifies
New Delhi, September 12, 2009
Jet Airways, India's second-largest airline, on Saturday cancelled 281 flights, including 21 international flights, as the pilots strike entered the fifth day today after marathon talks between them and the management ended in a deadlock.
Pilots and bosses at Jet Airways, held conciliation talks on Friday in a bid to end a 'sick leave' strike that has grounded many of the carrier's planes for four days.
More than 430 pilots - over half the airline's 760-pilot roster - have reported sick since Tuesday in what the company said was a 'simulated strike' prompted by the sacking of two pilots for setting up a union.
Money-losing Jet has also sacked two other pilots for alleged discipline breaches.
'The conciliation talks are going on' between management and the striking pilots, an aide to India's Labour Commissioner S K Mukho-padhyay said. 'He (labour commissioner) is mediating,' he said.
The pilots are demanding reinstatement of their colleagues to end the wildcat strike that reports say is costing the airline owned by Indian tycoon Naresh Goyal, a former travel agent, $8 million a day.
Thousands of flyers on Jet have been forced to change their travel plans in one of the biggest aviation disruptions in India in recent years.
Jet on Friday cancelled 171 flights, including 16 on international routes, as the stand-off entered its fourth day.
Jet has been accommodating 30 per cent of its domestic passengers on its own flights and putting the remainder on rivals' flights, according to India media. Indian media reports suggested the situation could be resolved following mediation by a ruling Congress party lawmaker.
'Jet management has agreed to take back all the four pilots,' member of parliament Sanjay Nirupam said.
A Jet spokesman said the company was 'unaware of any such move'.