Thu, 17 May 2012 20:06:37 GMT

Ajit Singh calls Air India unions for talks

New Delhi: Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh Thursday called all Air India unions for talks next week in a bid to end the 10-day pilots' strike that has seen the airline's losses mounting to Rs.188 crore.

Ajit Singh calls Air India unions for talks

In another development, the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) suffered a setback with the Delhi High Court refusing to entertain its plea challenging the court's earlier order restraining the pilots from going on an "illegal strike."

A division bench of teh high court said that contempt proceedings should be started against the pilots. The minister's invitation to the unions came amid reports of cracks in the pilots' unity. Singh said he would discuss with the unions all outstanding issues such as pay parity and promotion.

Air India is losing Rs.13 crore every day. "We have lost about Rs.188 crore due to ticket cancellations, unused labour and with a bulk of our Boeing-777 fleet grounded," a senior official of Air India's operations arm told IANS. Facing 10 days of strike by 400 pilots, the carrier's share in the domestic market has meanwhile slid to fourth position, after SpiceJet, Jet Airways and IndiGo.

The carrier is currently operating under the so-called contingency plan. "We are operating a bare minimum number of international operations by clubbing flights to destinations in Europe and the US," the official said.

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