AI pilots stir continues, strikers ignore govt appeals

New Delhi: There was no end in sight to the Air India pilots` strike which entered 13th day today with the cockpit group apparently ignoring all appeals by the government to return to work.

The national carrier operated a curtailed international schedule, flying seven West-bound flights instead of normal schedule of 16 daily flights, AI sources said.

Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh had yesterday appealed to the agitating pilots to return to work, saying their demands would be considered. He had also said that the ongoing strike has been declared illegal by the Delhi High Court and keeping in mind the inconvenience to thousands of passengers, they should return to work. He had also assured them that the government will not be vindictive.

The airline has so far lost about Rs 200 crore due to the agitation by over 200 pilots reporting `sick` during the past 13 days. IAF medical facilities in various parts of the country, including Bangalore, Delhi and Jorhat, have been beefed up to conduct their full check-up by medical boards after they complete 14 consecutive days of remaining `sick` on Monday.