Mumbai: Although the agitating pilots of Air India Ltd will report to work on Thursday, it will take at least two weeks to restore normal operations as they will be back in cockpits only after administrative processes and mandatory medical examinations are completed.
The Indian Pilots’ Guild (IPG), which represents a section of the national carrier’s pilots, called off its 58-day-old strike on Tuesday after the Delhi high court on Monday advised the union and Air India management to settle the dispute out of court.
Tauseef Mukadam, IPG joint secretary, said the pilots have taken the initiative to rejoin work. “Since we will have to undergo medical tests, simulator training and other administrative process, it will take anywhere between two weeks to two months for all pilots to be back on duty,” Mukadam said.
The whole process will be monitored by the high court, he said.
IPG members, who fly wide-bodied planes to international destinations, had struck work demanding that training on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner jet planes that the carrier is buying be restricted to pilots belonging to the erstwhile Air India, which merged in 2007 with state-run Indian Airlines to form a new entity called National Aviation Co. of India Ltd, which was later renamed Air India Ltd.
Air India had de-registered IPG as a trade union and sacked 101 pilots in what is the longest ever strike in the history of the carrier.
Around 420 of the 450 pilots registered with IPG have been on strike and some of them have been on a hunger strike for more than a week.
Air India used to sell 4,000 seats a day on international flights, which was reduced to 1,200 because of the strike.
Mukadam said it will take two months to get back to the 4,000-seat level.
Air India lost nearly Rs 600 crore owing to the strike.
Its market share slipped to 16.2% in May from 17.6% in April.
An Air India spokesperson declined to comment.
According to consultancy firm Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, a key concern for the airline is that the management could be in for a change at senior levels, including the position of chairman and managing director.