New Delhi, (IANS) National carrier Air India cancelled some 185 flights Tuesday as nearly half of its 1,600 pilots continued their strike for the seventh day, resulting in a loss of Rs.70 crore, even as the Delhi High Court blamed both sides for the impasse.
Speaking on the situation on Day Seven of the strike, a senior Air India official said: "We are operating around 40 flights on our domestic network today and some 185 flights were cancelled."
The official said, the pilots' strike, which started Tuesday midnight, has thus far caused cancellation and re-scheduling of around 885 flights and a revenue loss of about Rs.70 crore.
He said the airline has adopted a new operations plan where it will run some 100-120 flights, including those of low-cost domestic operator Alliance Air until the strike continues.
Earlier, the airline hired an Airbus aircraft of Kingfisher Airlines to lessen the burden of passengers. Under the new operations plan, the airline will fly fewer flights and only use wide-bodied aircraft.
"Currently, our curtailed operations are on. We had earlier stopped ticket bookings till May 6. Passenger loads will come down and we will be able to tide over this period," the official said.
Meanwhile, the Delhi High Court Tuesday restarted hearing criminal contempt proceedings against the office bearers of the Indian Commercial Pilots' Association (ICPA) for continuing their agitation and ignoring the court's stay order on the strike.
The court appointed senior advocate Sidharth Luthra amicus curiae to assist in the impasse between the management and its striking pilots, and asked the two sides to "put an end" to it.
The observations sought by the amicus curiae, literally meaning friend of the court in Latin, will be on point of law and it will be up to the bench to decide whether or not to admit such information while adjudicating the case.
A two-member bench of the Delhi High Court Monday started hearing criminal contempt proceedings against the office bearers of the ICPA, the union that has called the strike, for ignoring a stay order on the agitation.
"You are causing loss to the nation. Tell us who will pay this bill," the bench of Justice B.D Ahmed and Justice Veena Birbal asked both the management and the office bearers of the striking union.
"By disrupting the life of our citizens, you are causing a great loss to the nation and the citizens both. This loss has now to be taken from the tax-payer. Citizens will have to pay doubly."
The court will restart the hearing into the case later in the day.
The flag carrier has some 1,600 pilots on its rolls and operates some 320 flights daily.