Strike-hit AI puts truncated flight plan into operation

As the Air India pilots' unofficial strike enters its 25th day, the national carrier will operationalise its "interim plan" from today to salvage its international operations. The airline will operate only 38 services instead of the regular 45.

"We have finished work on our interim plan and it will be implemented from 1 June. Under the new plan, several destinations where the load factors are quite low might be dropped for the time being," Hindustan Times quoted an Air India official as saying.

The airline is expected to fully shift to the truncated interim schedule from today, dropping seven international destinations including Hong Kong, Osaka, Seoul and Toronto.

The carrier is already operating on a contingency plan under which a bare minimum number of flights are maintained by clubbing operations to various destinations in Europe and the US.

The airline is said to be examining several proposals to restore the international operations which includes wet lease of five aircraft from other airlines, meaning the leased planes will come with their own pilots and cabin crew.

The latest round of trouble in the financially crippled airline, kept aloft on public money, started on 8 May when members of the now de-recognised Indian Pilots Guild took mass sick leave, protesting the move to provide Boeing-787 Dreamliner training to pilots from the erstwhile Indian Airlines, which was merged into AI in 2007.