NEW DELHI: Chaos prevailed at Mumbai, Delhi and other airports across the country as over 400 pilots of Jet Airways stayed away from work on ‘sick leave’ since early Tuesday .
Nearly 20 domestic flights, including several early morning flights on trunk routes like Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, and other major sectors like Jaipur, Bhopal, Ahmedabad were cancelled. Jet Airways management attempted to club flights or accommodate passengers on alternate flights to minimise inconvenience to fliers.
A section of pilots, who were rostered for flying duties on Tuesday have gone on mass sick leave since midnight in protest against the termination of two senior pilots.
In a press statement Jet Airways said a section of pilots have resorted to a simulated strike by reporting sick.
“This organised activity is a planned sabotage of operations that will damage the airline’s operations and inconvenience the travelling public,” the statement said.
“Jet Airways is taking all steps to minimise the inconvenience to its guests. The airline will make all efforts to operate the maximum number of flights,” the statement said.
However, we will try to accommodate our guests on alternate flights as some flights may have to be combined or cancelled, it added.
Jet Airways had last month terminated the services of two of its senior most pilots, saying, “Their services were not required” after the duo along with others formed a trade union body in the company.
The union, which gave a strike call from midnight on Monday, had termed the sackings “an act of vendetta” and demanded the reinstatement of the pilots.
Subsequent to its serving a strike notice on the management, the issue was referred to the regional labour commissioner.
A conciliatory meeting was called on August 31 between both the Jet Airways management and the union which claims a representation of over 650 of the over 1,000 pilots in Jet Airways.
Referring to the directions of the regional labour commissioner, the statement said “Jet Airways has been in a conciliation process with the pilots. The regional labour commissioner had categorically stated that any strike by the pilots during this pendency of conciliation, would be deemed an illegal act.