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Air India flight operations back to normal

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New Delhi: National carrier Air India’s flight operations was back to normal today after the airline’s chief Ashwani Lohani “assured” the pilots of narrow-body aircraft of addressing all their pending issues, including pay parity, by next month during a meeting with them here this evening.

In the last two days, Air India’s domestic flight services were partially affected after 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-offs.

Following this, Lohani had yesterday warned of “exemplary disciplinary action” against employees “sabotaging” the progress of the national carrier. The airline management even sacked one contractual pilot for “not reporting” for duty and issued show-cause notice to five other pilots.

“The CMD during the meeting assured us of addressing all our pending issues including removing anomalies in the pay structure by next month and duly providing mandatory weekly offs in printed schedules. So we have also decided to fully cooperate with him,” Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) General Secretary T Praveen Keerthi told PTI after the meeting.

“By October, we expect all our issues to be resolved,” he added.

ICPA represents around 750 pilots of the narrow-body planes fleet in Air India, most of whom are from the erstwhile Indian Airlines.

The pilots’ body had yesterday warned of the situation turning worse If there was no “definite time-bound assurance” on resolving the issues by today.

In a stern message to employees, Lohani had said such acts (of disrupting flight services) were “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 added.

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