Delhi High Court Rejects Appeal From Striking Air India Pilots

Date : 05/17/2012 @ 12:29PM
Source : Dow Jones News
Stock : Boeing Company (The) (BA)
Quote : 183.67  2.91 (1.61%) @ 7:56PM

Delhi High Court Rejects Appeal From Striking Air India Pilots

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National carrier Air India Ltd. said Thursday the Delhi High Court rejected an appeal by a group of striking pilots against an order that declared their strike illegal.

The airline, meanwhile, canceled 17 overseas and local flights, as the strike by more than a fifth of its 1,500 pilots continued for an 11th day.

Air India hopes the order will force the pilots to call off the strike, a company spokesman said.

The airline has canceled dozens of daily flights, mostly on the cash-generating, longer routes to Europe and the U.S., resulting in billions of rupees of lost revenue.

Air India has been operating at a loss for five years after an unsuccessful merger with the other national carrier, Indian Airlines. Mandatory flights on loss-making routes as well as high jet fuel prices, borrowing costs and interest payments have drained its cash reserves.

The government has repeatedly injected cash into the airline over the last few years, but has been unable to shore up its finances.

Air India's pilots went on strike May 7, opposing the company's decision not to train some of them on Boeing Co. (BA) Dreamliner 787 planes, the first of which will soon join the company's fleet.

Pilots flying the Dreamliners, meant to operate on overseas routes, will get a higher salary and allowance.

The Delhi High Court on May 9 declared the strike illegal, leading the pilots to appeal the order.

Air India last week stopped recognizing the lobbying body that had called for the strike, sacked 71 of the striking pilots and refused to talk to the rest until they come back to work.

-By Anirban Chowdhury, Dow Jones Newswires; 91-22-61456108; anirban.chowdhury@dowjones.com

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