AI contemplates further crackdown on striking pilots

New Delhi: A further crackdown on the striking Air India pilots is being contemplated by the management and that 300 pilots could be dismissed with the 35-day-old strike on Sunday showing no signs of being called off.

Around 400 Air India pilots owing allegiance to Indian Pilots Guild(IPG) are on strike since May 7 and the services of 101 pilots have already been terminated.

Sources in the state-owned airline said "tough action" would be taken against the remaining 300-odd pilots and gave indications that they could be sacked..

Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh had on Wednesday said that for him, the strike was over and he did not see any point in the striking pilots coming back.

He has said that the decision to withdraw the stir lay with the pilots "as I had already said that the strike is already over from our side."

"If management has to take any action, they will take as per the labour law," he said.

Earlier, the minister had said alternative plans were being made to ensure that operations of the state-run carrier were normalised within two-three months so that the revival plan could be put in place.

Observing that there were about 500 expat pilots in the country, he said the management was in touch with them.

There are about 60-odd expat pilots, trained on wide-bodied aircraft like Boeing 777s or Airbus A-300s, whose contracts with Jet Airways have ended or are about to expire.

Kingfisher Airlines is also facing trouble and the government is hoping that there would be sufficient trained pilots looking for job prospects elsewhere.

Maintaining that the strike by the pilots was illegal, Singh slammed the agitators for resorting to strike during the peak season without any notice.