By Elizabeth Broomhall
Some 600 pilots have walked out in protest against pay disparities, leaving passengers stranded
Air India has said it is still not accepting any new
bookings within the Middle East or Africa, amid widespread industrial action
that has entered its ninth day.
The troubled carrier has been forced to cancel or reschedule
90 percent of its flights after 600 pilots went on strike last week, and has
refused all new bookings since April 30.
UAE airports have been among the most affected by the strike
as outward bound international Air India flights come to the UAE first before
departing onwards to their destinations.
continues to take necessary steps to minimize the inconvenience caused due to the
strike to its passengers,” the firm said in a statement.
“The number of
floor walkers at major airports and call centers have been increased. Air
India is also transferring the stranded passengers to flights of other
Approximately 12 percent of the airline’s flights out of
India have been affected by the strike, as the Indian Commercial Pilots
Association protested against a disparity in pay scales that arose after the
merger of Indian Airlines and Air India.
The airline has added a handful of flights to and from Dubai
to reduce the passenger backlog, with four flights operating between Mumbai and
Dubai, and Delhi and Dubai, between May 5 and May 9.
It’s the second wave of disruption for Air India, which last
month was forced to accept government intervention after a shortage of cabin
crew sparked a string of flight cancellations.
Some 75 flights from Kerala to the Gulf were scrapped before
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh intervened.