Air India serves showcause notice to 3 pilots; flights delayed

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Nearly a dozen flights of Air India were delayed for up to two hours today as a section of pilots continued their protest for the second day over payment and other issues even as the airline served showcause notice to three commanders for alleged dereliction of duty.

Seeking to resolve the issues raised by the pilots owing allegiance to Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (ICPA), Air India is expected to hold parleys with them tomorrow even as airline chief Ashwani Lohani warned of “exemplary disciplinary action” against agitating employees.

Sources said around 5-10 flights were delayed by half- an-hour to two hours today as more than 70 pilots opted for their “weekly off” impacting services in the domestic network.

At the same time, Air India has issued showcause notices to three pilots for not turning up for duty on Sunday, they added.

Air India spokesperson was not available for comments.

Earlier in the day, Lohani warned of “exemplary disciplinary action” against employees “sabotaging” the progress of the national carrier.

In a stern message to employees, he said such acts at this juncture when the airline is looking to achieve a turnaround are “just not acceptable” and shall not be tolerated under any circumstances.

Recently, there have been delays/cancellations of flights due to indiscipline by a small section of pilots. Such acts, not only result in revenue loss but also cause inconvenience to passengers, he said.

Sources said Air India’s Director of Operations has called for a meeting tomorrow with ICPA representatives to discuss their grievances.

They, however, said ICPA — which represents around 750 pilots of narrow-body planes — is unlikely to soften its stances on their pending issues for which they are demanding resolution at the earliest.

“If there are no definite time-bound assurance on resolving the issues by tomorrow evening, then the situation might turn worse,” one of the sources said.

Another source said ICPA is seeking the intervention of Lohani to resolve the issues.

On Sunday, domestic flight services were partially affected a section of ICPA members decided not to report for duty in protest against pending issues related to salary and allowances, besides alleged denial of weekly-off.

(With PTI inputs)

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