Air India to sack all striking pilots, hire afresh

The Air India management on Sunday decided to sack all the 300 or more pilots who have been on strike for 36 days as of today. The airline has already sacked 101 pilots over the course of the agitation and de-recognised the Indian Pilots' Guild (IPG), which orchestrated the action of pilots reporting sick en masse.

According to several reports, the pilots would be given their marching orders on Tuesday, as the national carrier has hired at least 90 new pilots and plans to induct more. Advertisements have already been put out for hiring pilots and officers.

Last week, civil aviation minister Ajit Singh had said that alternative plans were being made to ensure that operations of the state-run carrier were normalised within two to three months so that a revival plan could be put in place for the financially crippled airline, staying aloft only on government support.

Observing that there were about 500 expatriate pilots in the country, he said, "We have to get in touch with them."

Maintaining that the strike was illegal and "without any logic", Singh had said it was clear from the attitude of the agitators that "they don't want to work with this organisation (Air India)."

He said these pilots did not want to work with the pilots of the erstwhile Indian Airlines (merged into AI in 2007) or with the management, and they had rejected the Dharmadhikari committee report, which looks into ways to integrate the human resources of the two airlines.