24 AI flights cancelled due to pilots strike

New Delhi: The strike by about 800 pilots of Air India began to show its impact with the national carrier cancelling 24 flights from the city today, leaving passengers in the lurch.

While three services to Kathmandu were cancelled, four flights were called off on the busy Delhi-Mumbai route. Air India also cancelled flights to Srinagar, Leh, Jammu and Nagpur. Several flights were also cancelled from Mumbai including services to Aurangabad and Gwalior.

"Twenty-four flights have been cancelled, seven have been combined. 129 flights have been operated," an airline official said.

A section of Air India pilots, belonging to the erstwhile Indian Airlines, went on strike from midnight demanding pay parity with other pilots of the national carrier and better working conditions.

To tide over the crisis, AI has drawn up a contingency plan, which includes roping in of executive pilots to operate flights and it will be effected from tomorrow, the official said.

The 800-odd striking pilots owe allegiance to the Indian Commercial Pilot`s Association (ICPA). The merged entity — Indian Airlines and Air India — has about 1,200 pilots.

The remaining 400 pilots who mostly operate international flights belong to the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG).