Air India strike enters Day 4, passengers stranded
Mumbai, May 11(ANI): The Air India pilots' strike entered the fourth day on Friday, leaving thousands of passengers stranded, as no alternative arrangements were made for them by the airline.
The pilots had urged Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh to hold talks with them to end the impasse.
Earlier on Wednesday, the court termed the strike by pilots as 'illegal', and said there should not be any more strikes or sick reporting till July 13, the date fixed for further hearing of the case.
Pankaj Kote, a passenger told reporters at Mumbai international airport that the airlines refused to provide them with any accommodation.
"We are not being allowed to enter the airport despite us having the ticket and passport. We have not got any accommodation. They are refunding the ticket money but who will reimburse the lakhs of rupees, which we have spent on arranging for the tour. They are not ready to talk about it," said Kote.
Passengers also blamed the airport authorities for turning a deaf ear to their grievances.
"We are not allowed to board any of the other flights. They are not ready to reimburse the difference between Air India flights and different flights. They are not ready to give accommodation as well," said another passenger, Ankit Arora.
The cash-strapped national carrier was forced to cancel at least 30 flights on Thursday alone, after more than 150 pilots did not report to work, demanding exclusive rights to fly new Boeing Dreamliners.
About 500 Air India pilots who fly international routes have been demanding their colleagues from former state-owned partner Indian Airlines should not be trained to fly Dreamliners, as it may hurt the career prospects of original Air India staff.
The two companies were merged in 2007 but there have been problems with integration. Air India's purchase of Dreamliners was also criticised by a central auditor last year for "imposing an undue long-term financial burden". (ANI)
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