27 September, 2020

'This Is Blackmail'

Union civil aviation minister Shahnawaz Hussain spoke to Outlook on the strike. Excerpts:

'This Is Blackmail'
Was the strike expected?
Not at all. Without any advance warning, the pilots struck work. This is blackmail. We’re not going to succumb. Successive governments have fallen to the blackmail tactics of the pilots. This is the first time since ’74 that a government has acted tough and shown the pilots their place.

Do you expect the strike to be called off soon?
It’s on its last legs. The pilots have realised what they have walked into. We’re getting feelers from them. If it was a legitimate stir, public opinion would have been with them. You can’t go on strike and be the only international airline to be doing so.

What’s the real purpose of the strike?
To make more money. The pilots are demanding a compensation for learning a new landing system. This is the limit. For the kind of salaries they get, there are also some responsibilities.

Has it affected A-I’s image?
There is tremendous loss of prestige. Air-India is one of the premier carriers of the world. To be stopped from flying and undertaking its commitment...



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