NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: The Air India
pilots’ strike continued for the 19th day on Saturday, mounting the national carrier’s losses to Rs.290 crore.
“Till now, the losses stand at Rs.270 crore on various accounts such as ticket cancellations, unused labour and bulk of Boeing-777 fleet being grounded,” a senior Air India official told IANS.
“While some of our bookings have gone up due to maximum seat categories being in the lowest price bracket, our per-day losses are now contained downwards of Rs.10 crore in the current contingency plan,” he said.
The airline had Thursday decided to reduce fares by placing a large chunk of seats under the lowest fare category to augment its share in the domestic and international sector.
The airline had the fourth-largest market share in April at 17.6 percent, preceded by SpiceJet at 17.7, Jet Airways at 21.4 percent and IndiGo at 23.8 percent.
Apart from the new fare scheme, the airline will shift to a truncated interim schedule for June 1, whereby it will drop seven international destinations, which include Hong Kong, Osaka, Seoul and Toronto, from its regular routine. The airline will then operate only 38 services instead of the regular 45.
Currently, the carrier is operating through a contingency plan under which a bare minimum number of flights are maintained by clubbing operations to various destinations in Europe and the United States.
Air India has maintained that it has enough executive pilots to operate long-haul destinations in the US and Europe.
The development comes a day after Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh gave a stern message to the striking pilots that the airline may begin hiring new pilots if the agitation continued.