A ‘strike’ by about 100 pilots of Air India, India’s national carrier, has affected international flights with at least one flight to the UAE being affected so far.
The pilots abstained from duty and claimed to be ill. A group of another 200 pilots are also reported to have joined their colleagues by going on mass ‘sick leave’.
Five international flights have been cancelled so far, including Air India Express’ Thiruvananthapuram-Muscat and Sharjah-Calicut flights.
The other affected flights include Delhi-Chicago, Delhi-Toronto, Mumbai-New Jersey and Mumbai-Hong Kong.
The pilots’ action concerns a disagreement between the pilot unions and the management over selecting pilots to handle the Dreamliner 787.
Abhay Pathak, Regional Director, Air India (Middle East and Africa) said the strike by pilots is not yet officially confirmed, even as services of Air India Express are affected.
“So far we haven’t officially confirmed the strike, but some pilots have reported sick. Our Air India flights to the region are normal, but a Sharjah-Calicut flight has been either delayed or cancelled.
“Compared to the last pilot strike, we hope the issue will be sorted out.”
He said the airline has currently 18 flights per week from the Gulf region to India.
“The airline season to India is always busy and yet another pilot strike will disrupt the services. It will help the private airlines,” said a travel agent in Dubai.