At least 300 passengers have been left stranded in India following the cancellation of Air India Express flights to Dubai, Muscat and Sharjah.
The cancellation of Air India flights is due to pilots of India’s flagship airline not reporting for duty over a labour dispute with the management.
“The Air India Express flight from Calicut to Dubai (IX 342) has been cancelled and about 150 passengers are advised to get a refund and book in other airlines.
“If the IX 342 flight is not coming in, the return trip from Dubai to Calicut, IX 344, which normally leaves at 11.20pm will also be cancelled,” a leading travel agent told this website.
“When we sold Air India Express flights, a return ticket was available for Dh1,500. Now the other option available on Emirates costs Dh1,940, and for a family of five, would be a major financial burden,” said the travel agent.
The Dubai-Mangalore, Sharjah–Calicut (IX 337) and Muscat- Thiruvananthapuram flight (IX 554), all Air India Express flights were affected.
The Dubai-Mangalore flight was delayed by 12 hours.
“We have managed one cancellation of the Air India Express flight by transferring passengers to Air India flights, which are running normally to the Gulf.
“It is our responsibility to take care of the passengers who are scheduled to travel in cancelled or delayed flights. We will try our level best to ensure that passengers will not be put in difficult situation at any cost,” said Abhay Pathaki, Regional Manager, Air India (Middle East and Africa region).
Meanwhile, 10 striking or abstaining pilots have been served termination notices and the Indian Pilots Guild has been blacklisted.
The pilots' strike, now in its second day, has also crippled long-haul services to Singapore and New York.
Media reports from India said that out of 50 international flights that the airline operates every day, at least 10 have been cancelled as of 2pm IST on Wednesday, in addition to six cancellations on Tuesday.