x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Eid holiday plans ruined by rolling effects of Air India strike

Hundreds of would-be travellers have been told by low-cost carrier Air India Express that their flights between August 16 and 22 are either cancelled or rescheduled.

Air India reportedly lost more than Dh394m (Rs600 crore) due to the industrial action.
Air India reportedly lost more than Dh394m (Rs600 crore) due to the industrial action.

DUBAI // Passengers in the UAE are still feeling the effects of an Air India pilots' strike that ended two weeks ago.

Hundreds of would-be travellers have been told by low-cost carrier Air India Express that their flights between August 16 and 22 - just as worshippers ready to celebrate Eid Al Fitr - are either cancelled or rescheduled.

"We are trying to transfer passengers from Air India Express to Air India flights," said Abhay Pathak, Air India's regional manager of Gulf, Middle East and Africa, who added that officials from Air India are working to ensure no traveller was inconvenienced.

Mr Pathak said flights had been rescheduled as a result of the pilots' strike that ended earlier this month.

"The number of flights to the UAE has gone down from 48 to 28 per week due to the strike.

"Though the strike has ended, it will be some time before pilots resume their duties. They have to undergo medical checks and other technical formalities before they are allowed to fly.

"Because of this, some Air India Express flights have been rescheduled but we are trying hard to see that passengers are not put to inconvenience and are transferred to Air India flights," he said.

The 58-day strike by the pilots over issues relating to career progression, was called off on July 3 after the airline's management assured Delhi High Court it was sympathetically consider their grievances, including reinstatement.

Air India reportedly lost more than Dh394m (Rs600 crore) due to the industrial action.

The director of Air India, who is also the head of Lulu hypermarkets, recently resigned from the government-owned airline, saying he was disappointed he had failed to cut fares and improve service.

"Thousands of our countrymen are getting stranded in airports because of frequent flight cancellations delayed services, and there are unjustified fare hikes, especially in peak seasons," said Yusuff Ali MA.

"I really feel dejected at not being able to do justice to the faith reposed in me and I have decided to step down."

frahman@thenational.ae