Air India pilots' strike
Air India on strike.REUTERS

The stand-off between Air India management and the pilots entered the seventh day on Monday, leading to cancellation of about 14 international flights making hundreds of air passengers to suffer.

Ever since the strike began, the crisis in the national carrier has been worsening every passing day, putting the future of Indian Aviation sector at stake.

Although the pilots are offering to talk, the government and the crisis-hit airline's management wants them to stop the ongoing agitation before sitting for the negotiation.

As the agitation is showing no indication that it would end, the airline's management is reportedly mulling to cancel flights to all international routes till the strike ends. 

Moreover, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh has said the ongoing pilots' strike is likely to put a whopping Rs 300 billion bailout package at stake.

Below follows the series of events in Air India strike, so far:

  • The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Saturday had issued a show-cause notice to 11 pilots and sought their response within a week's time. This comes following Air India management's request to cancel the licenses of the terminated pilots.
  • In an extreme step to persuade the striking pilots to give up their protest, Air India management sacked as many as 71 pilots in just five days. Meanwhile, the management has urged the DGCA to revoke their licenses as well. The sacked pilots could get back their jobs in future. However, invoking the cancelled license is a complicated task.
  • The striking pilots on Saturday offered unconditional talks with the government to end the impasse. However, the Air India management and the government demanded the pilots to apologize to the affected passengers before hitting the negotiation table.
  • To cash in on the ongoing Air India impasse, other airlines had reportedly jacked up their ticket prices. Taking a tough stand against the reported air fare hike, DGCA issued a warning against hiking the air prices, saying that the cost of the operation has not experienced any major change over the last couple of months.
  • Ajit Singh met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday (May 11) regarding the Air Indian stir and had a brief discussion with him. The Prime Minister reportedly asked Ajit Singh to make sure that other airlines did not exploit the situation to jack up ticket rates.
  • An association of senior executive pilots on Saturday wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about the ongoing agitation alleging that the Air India management was responsible for the latest stand-off as the staff were denied timely promotions and salary increments to the pilots, which they deserved.
  • The Delhi High Court asked the agitating pilots to call off their protest as it termed the strike as "illiegal." Despite that, the pilots refused to budge prompting the Air India management to move the Supreme Court alleging contempt of court by the striking pilots.
  • As a setback for the airline's management, the apex court on Friday (May 11) declined to entertain the plea against the on-strike pilots and suggested them to talk out things.

Reason for the Air India stalemate:

The pilots are protesting against their promotions being withheld and cutbacks in salaries. They also argued that the management had violated the terms of merger rules of Air India and Indian airlines.

The Indian government merged Air India with Indian Airlines in 2007, making it a state-owned national carrier under the Civil Aviation Ministry. Since then, employees from both the airlines have continued to confront each other on several issues, mainly over promotions and payments.