Pilots strike hits Air India's services from UAE

Airline cancelled one flight to Kochi from Sharjah while another flight from Abu Dhabi to Delhi was routed through Dubai on Wednesday

A strike by about 800 pilots of National Aviation Company Ltd - the operators of Air India and Indian Airlines flights - demanding pay parity and better working conditions, have hit operations in the UAE.

The airline cancelled one flight to Kochi from Sharjah while another flight from Abu Dhabi to Delhi had to be routed through Dubai. The airline arranged a bus service to transport all the passengers from Abu Dhabi to Dubai.

Two narrow-body flights each from Mumbai and Delhi, were consolidated into bigger wide-body aircrafts, Air India officials confirmed.

Abhay Pathak, Air India’s Regional Manager for Gulf and MENA, told Khaleej Times that only one flight from Sharjah to Kochi was cancelled from the UAE.

“We are trying to accommodate all those passengers on flights to Calicut from Sharjah and Dubai-Kochi flight. Some passengers have opted to fly to Calicut as most of them live in between Calicut and Kochi. Others would go on Dubai-Kochi flight,” he said on Wednesday evening.

Anand Kumar Pandey, Air India’s Country Manager in the UAE, was quoted by the daily as saying that the Sharjah-Kochi flight, AI 934, had to be cancelled because the Kochi-Sharjah flight, AI 933, did not arrive. He said there were 115 passengers scheduled to board the Kochi flight from Sharjah at Wednesday midnight.

“We hope to clear their backlog between tonight and tomorrow afternoon,” he said.

The airline is closely monitoring the situation and making all possible arrangements to avoid inconveniences to the passengers, assured Pathak.

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