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Tue 8 Sep 2009 11:55 AM

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Dubai flights hit as 300 Indian pilots stage protest

Jet Airways schedules affected as pilots call in sick in support of sacked colleagues.

Dubai flights from India were hit on Tuesday as 300 pilots working for Jet Airways reported sick in protest against the sacking of two colleagues.

In total, 120 flights were affected, including flights to Dubai, Colombo, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, according to a report on All India radio.

Flights on India's second-largest private airline, including 35 from the financial hub Mumbai and 18 from New Delhi, were cancelled as a result of the action, which Jet Airways said was a "planned sabotage of operations".

The move would "damage the airline's operations and inconvenience the travelling public," AFP reported, citing a company statement.

The National Aviation Guild, a union claiming to represent 650 of the more than 1,000 pilots at Jet, had been in talks with senior management after the company dismissed two senior pilots last month.

Union officials have demanded their reinstatement, calling the dismissal "an act of vendetta" as the pilots had formed a trade union body in the company.

Jet Airways said that any strike would be illegal as the dispute had been referred to the regional labour commissioner and conciliation talks were ongoing.

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