AI remains crippled for 10th day

Mumbai: With two rounds of talks between the striking pilots and the government failing to end the deadlock, both have agreed to meet again on Friday, even as the domestic operations of the national carrier Air India remained crippled for the tenth consecutive day.

With the strike still on, the airline has grounded up to 90 per cent of its operations and has been operating around 30 flights a day besides some charter flights from Kingfisher and Air Arabia.

Yesterday, the airline operated 18 charter flights, 16 domestic and two international using aircraft borrowed from Kingfisher and Air Arabia, a company spokesperson, adding it may continue to do so today as well.

The civil aviation ministry yesterday held talks with the agitating pilots to find a way to break the ice following the strike, for the second time. The talks, however, were inconclusive.

The aviation ministry officials are also optimistic that the deadlock would end soon. After their parleys with joint secretary Prashant Shukul, the pilots also met aviation secretary Nasim Zaidi for the first time since the talks began on Wednesday.

The striking pilots are demanding that all sackings, suspensions and transfers effected during the strike period be revoked, ICPA`s recognition be restored, the contempt of court petition filed by Air India management be withdrawn, a CBI probe into the alleged corruption and mismanagement be ordered and all other issues be tackled in a time-bound manner.

Air India has sacked seven pilots and suspended six and the management has decided not to process the April salaries of the agitators "till further instructions".

The Delhi High Court had on Tuesday slapped contempt notices on nine office bearers of the de-recognised ICPA for disobeying its order to call off the strike.