As the agitation by protesting pilots entered the fourth day today, 12 Air India international flights were cancelled even as the Civil Aviation Minister hoped that the airline "does not enter the ICU".
"All our long haul flights to US, Europe, Riyadh and Jeddah have been cancelled", an Air India official said. This has been done due to non-availability of pilots who are on mass sick leave since Tuesday, he said.
Long overhaul flights to New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Toronto, Frankfurt, London, Paris from Delhi and Mumbai were cancelled.
With pilots remaining defiant, the Air India management had yesterday sacked 9 more pilots. Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh expressed hope that pilots will "get well soon as they are sick.
A deserted ticket counter
Noting that the aviation industry and Air India are passing through a tough phase due to high price of ATF, high service tax along with Airport charges and others, Singh said he will take up the issue with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Likewise, around 12 Kingfisher flights were today cancelled after pilots reported sick in protest against non-payment of salaries.
Ten flights from Delhi and two from Mumbai were cancelled after pilots did not report to work, sources said. Kingfisher pilots have been protesting since yesterday against non-payment of their dues.
Kingfisher Chairman Vijay Mallya had assured the staff in his May 5 communication that their January salaries will be remitted from May 9 onwards.
Last month, the Kingfisher management had said it would pay employees' December salaries between April 4 and April 9 in a phased manner, but some of the employees received their salaries as late as around April 24, the sources said.