Air India pilots meet Ajit Singh to end standoff

Representatives of the agitating Air India pilots today met civil aviation minister Ajit Singh and got an assurance from him that there would not be any victimisation of the pilots if they returned to work immediately.

After 18 days of strike that brought immense misery to passengers and loss of revenue to the airline, the government and the pilots, however, seemed to be still sticking to their respective positions.

Five members of the Indian Pilots' Guild (IPG) called on civil aviation minister Ajit Singh at the ministry headquarters in New Delhi today after the airline management sacked 101 pilots owing allegiance to IPG so far.

The minister listened to the pilots in a 90-minute-long meeting with Air India CMD Rohit Nandan also joining the meeting towards the close.

''We reiterated the stand of the government that it is an illegal strike. It has caused untold miseries to passengers… Air India has lost much and therefore they should come back to work immediately,'' Ajit Singh told reporters after the meeting.

According to the minister, the pilots began their agitation without serving a notice and ''reported sick when they were not''.