Air India to operate 160 flights by Monday
New Delhi: National carrier Air India Saturday said it will operate around 160 flights by Monday, from its current frequency of 40, as the striking pilots start reporting for work.
"We will add around 120 flights from Monday," a senior official of Air India`s operations arm said.
However, the carrier will take some time to resume its normal frequency of 225 as the pilots returning to work will have to get their flying schedules and medical checkups done, he added.
According to the official, the crippling 10-day strike caused cancellation of around 1,470 flights and a revenue loss of Rs.120 crore.
"From a regular day, we are currently operating 185 flights less, and the revenue loss would be somewhere around Rs.12 crore per day," the official said.
"We took some key decisions, like stopping ticket bookings, and chartering jets to ferry existing passengers, so now we don`t have any backlog of passengers. So, we can start afresh and take some time to bring our entire capacity of flights on line," he added.
Industry experts say fares would come down as Air India starts operating the additional flights.
"Yes, there was huge apprehension about the air fares, because the demand is high, and this is a peak season, and Air India is one of the largest carriers. But now, with the strike ending, the fares will come back to normal," Ankur Bhatia, executive director of the Bird Group, a technology provider to the travel industry, said.
On late Friday, some 800-odd Air India pilots who had gone on strike called off their stir after the government and the union reached an "understanding" on their demand for pay parity and fixed flying hours.
Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) general secretary Captain Rishab Kapoor said: "The strike has been called off and the pilots are resuming work tonight."
He added that the pilots "trust and believe in the government and the Justice (retd) D.N. Dharmadhikari Committee", which was formed to look into human resource issues of the merger between Air India and Indian Airlines.
The pilots have told the two-member panel that they will honour any recommendations made by the committee.
The pilots who struck work from midnight April 26 belonged to the erstwhile Indian Airlines and are demanding pay parity with their colleagues in Air India since the two airlines merged into a single entity.
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