With Air India considering a further crackdown on the striking pilots, the government today said it is for the airline’s management to decide for how long to keep them on their payroll when they are not working.
It “is for the Air India management to take action now. These pilots have not come to work for more than 30 days… It is an illegal strike. They have defied the High Court,” civil aviation minister Ajit Singh said. “We have requested them again and again to return to work. So, it is for the management to decide for how long can they keep them on their payroll when they are not working. And they have no intention of coming back,” he told reporters.
Around 400 Air India pilots owing allegiance to Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) have been on strike since May 7 and the services of 101 pilots have already been terminated.Sources in the state-owned airline have said “tough action” would be taken against the remaining 300-odd pilots.
Taxes make air fares higher here
Beijing: Air fares in India were about 300 per cent higher than those in China and some other countries because of high tax rates, Jet Airways chief Naresh Goyal said today, asserting that the aviation industry could not grow with such taxation. “The Indian (aviation) industry can’t grow with the taxes. In fact, India is the only country in the world to impose a service tax on their airlines. Do you know that the fares of Chinese airlines are a third of the Indian carriers? Why is it so? Because there are no taxes here. In fact, the Indian fares are higher by 200-300 pc if compared with the world’s other carriers, leave alone Chinese,” Goyal said.
Comparing Chinese airlines with the ones here, he said Chinese airlines were are all state-owned and “have solid government backing”. Elaborating on Jet’s expansion plans, Goyal said, “We want to go to a few places in Europe and are looking at those destinations which will make money.”