Air India back to 'normal' after pilots end stir

National carrier Air India resumed normal operations on Thursday after its striking pilots called off their agitation on Wednesday. According to reports, nearly all of its morning flights took off on schedule.

Passengers at several airports across the country were surprised when the staff of the carrier apologised for the inconvenience caused to them because of the pilots' stir, and some even got roses from the carrier.

The airline, the government and harried passengers were much relieved as the pilots ended their four-day stand-off with the management over cuts in their allowances and incentives, as civil aviation minister Praful Patel assured the pilots that the status quo would be maintained. (See: Stir ends as 'tough-talking' AI buckles under pilot pressure)

The beleaguered carrier, already facing one of its worst financial crises ever with accumulated losses of almost Rs10,000 crore, said all pilots on the roster have reported back to work.

V K Bhalla, a senior executive pilot leading the agitation, said, "We have received an official communication from the civil aviation minister. He has himself assured us that there will be no salary cuts. So we have called off the strike with immediate effect."

The strike by Air India pilots had begun Saturday with 180 pilots reporting sick to protest a cut in their productivity-linked incentives. Till Wednesday, 128 flights, including some two dozen on international routes, had to be cancelled.

Air India operates to 62 destinations within the country and 31 overseas with a fleet of 154 aircraft.