Striking AI pilots to report back to work from today

New Delhi: Striking Air India pilots will report back to work from today after they called off their 58-day protracted strike following the Delhi High Court`s order to join their duty within 48 hours.

But it will take about a month for the pilots, who were on indefinite fast from Sunday last, to join their active duty as they will have to undergo compulsory medical and other training as per the DGCA guidelines.

"Honouring the sentiment of honourable Delhi High Court`s direction, we are ending our agitation and hunger strike and will begin the formalities to report back to our duty," said Rohit Kapahi, Managing Committee member of Indian Pilots` Guild (IPG).

"The Delhi High Court, he said, took the initiative to break the impasse asking the airline management to sympathetically consider our grievances and begin the conciliation process", Kapahi said.

"Though we were given assurance about being taken back by the Air India management when our parents met them, there was nothing concrete on commitments. But the Court`s order is binding on both of us – the management and the IPG – so there was nothing to continue with the strike," he said.

The Air India pilots strike was called off last night after the Delhi High Court asked them to join duty within 48 hours and the management to sympathetically consider their grievances.

The decision to end the strike was announced by the Indian Pilots` Guild (IPG) last night after a meeting of its managing committee in Mumbai. "We the pilots of Air India and members of the Indian Pilots Guild, on the intervention of Hon`ble Justice Ms Reva Khetrapal of the Hon`ble Delhi High Court have started the procedure to resume work," an IPG statement issued after the meeting said.

Kapahi said as directed by the High Court, the IPG is now looking forward to negotiations with the AI management on all pending issues in the presence of the Chief Labour Commissioner, which will begin from July 6.

After which the management has to report the High Court about the conciliation process.

Though the pilots would start reporting to work from today but it will take about a month to resume their active duty. "After joining, all the 434 pilots will have to undergo compulsory medical test, ground training, simulator training and flight training before being given active duty," Kapahi told PTI. All these procedures may take 15 days to a month, he added.