AI pilots, ministry talks remain inconclusive

New Delhi: The second-round of talks between striking pilots of Air India and the ministry of civil aviation ended on an inconclusive note Thursday with both parties failing to agree on "interim relief" terms.

The industrial action by Air India pilots now enters its ninth day. The action has crippled the state-run carrier's domestic operations and has cost the carrier over Rs120 crore in revenues.

It is likely that Air India management may join the talks on Friday. "We are trying to solve all outstanding issues. AI could be a part of the meeting tomorrow," said AI CMD, Arvind Jadhav.

Striking pilots want a fixed salary for 70 hours of flying every month, similar to their Air India counterparts who get a fixed pay for 75-80 hours put in every month for a fixed salary component of Rs5-8 lakh.

In the case of erstwhile Indian Airlines pilots, who are on strike under the aegis of the de-recognised Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA), the fixed component is for 45-50 hours as they work on short-haul flights on domestic sectors.

Last month, the civil aviation ministry formed a committee under Justice DN Dharmadhikari (retd) to rationalise the wage structure of the merged Air India. Erstwhile Air India, which operated primarily on the international sector, was merged with domestic operator Indian Airlines in 2007. The bloated entity has a staff strength of 38, 000 employees – the highest in the world.