After a virtual shutdown of its operations due to ten-day pilots’ strike, Air India today resumed fresh bookings but it would take two to three days for the state-owned airline to ensure complete normalcy in its flights.
Leaders of the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) that spearheaded the stir also met the airline”s CMD Arvind Jadhav and discussed the nitty-gritty of how to go about implementing the decisions of the agreement reached between the Association and Civil Aviation Ministry last night that led to the strike being called off.
Air India had suspended fresh bookings last week due to the strike which also led to the cancellation of 90% of the flights across its domestic network.
Officials said the process of getting its planes, which remained grounded for ten days, ready to fly and the pilots and cabin crew rostered in accordance with the demands for each flight has commenced.
“If we don”t have bookings, it is not wise to fly an empty aircraft. It might take another 36 hours to return to the pre-strike levels”, officials said, adding that normalcy can be restored by Tuesday.
The strike resulted in an estimated loss of about Rs 160 crore as over 800 pilots, belonging to the erstwhile Indian Airlines, struck work and were joined by their senior colleagues
Flight operations in Kolkata returned to near normal, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International airport sources said.
Out of the scheduled 22 Air India flights from Kolkata ,two flights–to Mumbai and Chennai were cancelled, airport sources said.
Overseas flight of the airlines for London and another for Kathmandu left as per schedule, the sources said.
The strike was called off after the government agreed to revoke all termination and suspension orders, withdraw the derecognition of ICPA and assured the pilots that their demands for pay parity would be considered by the Justice Dharmadhikari Committee on a priority basis.
The three-member Committee, set up to go into all merger related HR issues facing Air India employees, has started its work and has already met a cross-section of employees to elicit their views.
The government also assured them of a probe into their allegations of irregularities soon and the management would take immediate steps to enhance daily utilisation of aircraft and working hours of the cockpit crew.