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Air India may sack 300 more striking pilots

The national carrier Air India may sack 300 more striking aviators, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said on Monday, as the airline advertised for hiring new pilots. The airline has already sacked 101 pilots.

'The pilots are on an illegal strike since May. How long do [the pilots] expect us to wait for them to resume duty? If the situation remains the same, then the rest [300] of pilots may also be terminated. But this decision will be taken by the Air India management,' Ajit Singh said.

'Not only has the illegal strike caused severe losses to the airline, but also wavered the trust of passengers from Air India. If they want to come back, then they are welcome.'

When contacted, the striking aviators said they are studying the situation and are currently on the agitation.

'We are looking at the situation. We all are together in this and our unity would not break. Our only demand right now is the reinstatement of our sacked colleagues and recognition of our union,' a senior committee member of the Indian Pilots Guild [IPG] - the now de-recognised union - said.

Earlier, the Air India management had sacked 101 pilot-members of the IPG. Representing aviators of the erstwhile Air India, the IPG went on strike on 8 May against the move to train their counterparts from Indian Airlines on the soon-to-be-inducted Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

The airline on its part has given advertisements on its website for hiring of new pilots for a contractual period of five years.

The advertisements call for both commanders and co-pilots, who can operate Boeing 777s, 747s and 737s. The applicants will have to go through an interview and flight simulator tests in Mumbai. The airline has set 23 July 2012 as the closure for hiring process.
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