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Passengers suffer as Jet Airways pilots go on mass leave

Thousands of passengers were put to great inconvenience today as private carrier Jet Airways cancelled scores of flights after 361 of its pilots and co-pilots stayed away from work today seeking the immediate reinstatement of two of their colleagues who were sacked by the airline recently.

As a result of the action by the pilots, a total of 186 flights --154 domestic and 32 international services--were cancelled or affected throughout its network, the airline said in a statement.

It said about 13,000 passengers were affected, a majority of whom were transferred to other carriers.

The airline said that the pilots had announced yesterday the withdrawal of a planned strike on the issue but then resorted to a "simulated strike" by reporting since.

It said that since 2200 hours last night, a total of 163 captains and 198 first officers had reported sick, disrupting the flight schedules.

The airline said the mass sick leave was a "planned sabotage of operations" that would damage the airline's operations and inconvenience the travelling public.

The pilots' action was spearheaded by the National Aviators Guild (NAG) which had yesterday called off a proposed strike but decided on the mass casual leave by its members.

A spokesman for the guild told television channels that he was "sincerely apologetic" for the inconvenience caused to passengers but maintained that the solution to the problem lay entirely in the hands of the airline's management.

He said the guild had no demands on issues like pay and perks and only wanted the reinstatement of the two "illegally" dismissed pilots.

Many of the airline's passengers who turned up this morning for their flights were shocked to learn about the cancellations and were seen running around to get seats on other airlines. Several of them complained that they had not received any intimation about the cancellation from the airline.

The Union Government expressed concern at the inconvenience being caused to the travelling public by the cancellation of the flights and Home Secretary G K Pillai has written to the Chief Secretaries of states to review the situation caused by the "wildcat" strike.

The letter asked the Chief Secretaries to, in consultation with their respective Home Secretaries and Labour Secretaries, see whether there is a necessity to invoke the provisions of the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) to ensure restoration of services so that general public are not put into inconvenience.

According to an official statement, about 145 captains and 154 co-pilots of the airline had reported sick en masse.
Efforts were being made to divert passengers to flights of Air India and other airlines, sources said.

According to the official statement, as part of the Civil Aviation Requirements, any act on the part of the pilots, which may result in last-minute cancellation of flights and harassment of passengers, "would be treated as an act against the public interest."

Jet Airways Chairman Naresh Goyal met Civil Aviation Secretary M Madhavan Nambiar and Director General of Civil Aviation N Zaidi to brief them about the developments.

The Ministry has directed the airline management to set up control rooms at their headquarters, bases and airports.

The airline has also been asked to ensure that their passengers are accommodated in other airlines, depending on availability of seats.

Jet Airways have also been directed to put in place a full refund mechanism without any deduction - on passenger request. They have also been asked to adopt a method of combination/re-scheduling of flights for smooth transfer of passengers.

The Ministry has directed the management to ensure full facilitation of passengers and their amenities. The airline has been asked to minimize the inconvenience that is being caused to the traveling public, the statement added.

The Jet Airways statement said that, as per the directions of the Regional Labour Commissioner, it had been in a conciliation process with the pilots.

The Regional Labour Commissioner had categorically stated that any strike by the pilots during the pendency of conciliation, would be deemed an illegal act under Industrial Disputes Act.

The statement said the number of pilots who reported sick represented nearly 40 per cent of the total airline pilot strength of 760 Indian pilots.

Out of the total domestic flights operated by the airline, approximately 25 per cent of the flights had operated until noon today, it said, adding that all JetLite flights had been operated as per the normal schedule.

"All Jet Airways wide body long haul flights are currently operating as normal having been crewed by foreign pilots, who have been pulled out from leave and standby.

"We would like to personally thank all those pilots who stood by the airline so that inconvenience to the traveling public is kept to the minimum possible," it said.

The airline said it had moved an application in the High Court to pass an order restraining the NAG and its members from going on any form of strike and the court had passed an order of such restraint.

"Jet Airways is expecting the written form of this restraining order and will take appropriate action," the statement added.

The statement said the airline's website, Call Centre and SMS alerts would provide updated information on the status of flights.

"All affected guests can get either a full refund or rebook themselves on an alternate date without any cancellation or reissue charges," it added.

The two pilots had apparently been dismissed by the airline after they, along with others, formed a trade union in the company.

The NAG, which claims it has the support of about 650 of the pilots of the airline, had described the sackings as an act of vendetta and demanded their immediate reinstatement.

A meeting of the representatives of the guild and the management had been held on August 31.

List of international flights departing on September 08, 2009

9W 117 London - Mumbai                  On Schedule
9W 118 Mumbai - London                  On Schedule
9W 119 London - Mumbai                  On Schedule
9W 120 Mumbai - London                  On Schedule
9W 121 London - Delhi                   On Schedule
9W 122 Delhi - London                   On Schedule
9W 225 New York - Brussels - Chennai    On Schedule
9W 226 Chennai - Brussels - New York    On Schedule
9W 227 Newark - Brussels - Mumbai       On Schedule
9W 228 Mumbai - Brussels - Newark       On Schedule
9W 229 Toronto - Brussels - Delhi       On Schedule                                            
9W 230 Delhi - Brussels - Toronto       On Schedule

List of flights which are cancelled / transferred on September 08, 2009

9W 15  Singapore - Chennai              Cancelled
9W 16  Chennai - Singapore              Cancelled
9W 31  Kuala Lumpur - Chennai           Cancelled
9W 32  Chennai - Kuala Lumpur           Cancelled
9W 101 Mumbai - Pune                    Cancelled
9W 102 Pune - Mumbai                    Cancelled
9W 102 Mumbai - Kolkata                 Transferred to S2 1102
9W 113 Mumbai - Aurangabad              Cancelled
9W 114 Aurangabad - Mumbai              Cancelled
9W 251 Colombo - Chennai                Cancelled
9W 252 Chennai - Colombo                Cancelled
9W 261 Kathmandu - Delhi                Cancelled
9W 262 Delhi - Kathmandu                Cancelled
9W 301 Mumbai - Delhi                   Transferred to 9W 333
9W 308 Delhi - Mumbai                   Cancelled
9W 309 Mumbai - Delhi                   Cancelled
9W 311 Mumbai - Delhi                   Cancelled
9W 312 Delhi - Mumbai                   Cancelled
9W 327 Mumbai - Ahmedabad               Cancelled
9W 328 Ahmedabad - Mumbai               Cancelled
9W 331 Mumbai - Delhi                   Cancelled
9W 332 Delhi - Mumbai                   Cancelled
9W 334 Delhi - Mumbai                   Cancelled
9W 336 Delhi - Mumbai                   Cancelled
9W 336 Mumbai - Thiruvananthapuram      Cancelled
9W 337 Thiruvananthapuram - Mumbai      Cancelled
9W 343 Mumbai - Vadodara                Cancelled
9W 344 Vadodara - Mumbai                Cancelled
9W 351 Mumbai - Delhi                   Cancelled
9W 354 Delhi - Mumbai                   Cancelled
9W 363 Delhi - Pune                     Cancelled
9W 364 Pune - Delhi                     Cancelled
9W 365 Delhi - Pune                     Cancelled
9W 366 Pune - Delhi                     Cancelled
S2 381 Mumbai - Indore                  Transferred to 9W 381
S2 382 Indore - Mumbai                  Transferred to 9W 382
9W 406 Kochi - Mumbai                   Cancelled
9W 406 Mumbai - Delhi                   Cancelled
9W 411 Mumbai - Bengaluru               Cancelled
9W 412 Bengaluru - Mumbai               Cancelled
9W 441 Mumbai - Bengaluru               Cancelled
9W 451 Mumbai - Hyderabad               Cancelled
9W 452 Hyderabad - Mumbai               Cancelled
9W 457 Mumbai - Hyderabad               Cancelled
9W 458 Hyderabad - Mumbai               Cancelled
9W 461 Mumbai - Chennai                 Cancelled
9W 462 Chennai - Mumbai                 Cancelled
9W 465 Chennai - Bengaluru              Cancelled
9W 466 Bengaluru - Chennai              Cancelled
9W 469 Mumbai - Chennai                 Cancelled
9W 470 Chennai - Mumbai                 Cancelled
9W 471 Mumbai - Goa                     Cancelled
9W 472 Goa - Mumbai                     Cancelled
9W 475 Mumbai - Goa                     Cancelled
9W 476 Goa - Mumbai                     Cancelled
9W 484 Bengaluru - Mumbai               Cancelled
9W 488 Chennai - Mumbai                 Cancelled
S2 511 Kolkata - Hyderabad              Cancelled
S2 511 Hyderabad - Bengaluru            Cancelled
S2 512 Bengaluru - Hyderabad            Cancelled
S2 512 Hyderabad - Kolkata              Cancelled
9W 521 Jeddah - Mumbai                  Cancelled
9W 522 Mumbai - Jeddah                  Cancelled
9W 523 Riyadh - Mumbai                  Cancelled
9W 524 Mumbai - Riyadh                  Cancelled
9W 529 Muscat - Thiruvananthapuram      Cancelled
9W 530 Thiruvananthapuram - Muscat      Cancelled
9W 533 Muscat - Kochi                   Cancelled
9W 534 Kochi - Muscat                   Cancelled
9W 539 Muscat - Mumbai                  Cancelled
9W 540 Mumbai - Muscat                  Cancelled
9W 541 Dubai - Mumbai                   Cancelled
9W 542 Mumbai - Dubai                   Cancelled
9W 543 Dubai - Mumbai                   Cancelled
9W 544 Mumbai - Dubai                   Cancelled
9W 547 Dubai - Delhi                    Cancelled
9W 548 Delhi - Dubai                    Cancelled
9W 555 Doha - Kochi                     Cancelled
9W 556 Kochi - Doha                     Cancelled
9W 571 Kuwait - Mumbai                  Cancelled
9W 572 Mumbai - Kuwait                  Cancelled
9W 573 Kuwait - Kochi                   Cancelled
9W 574 Kochi - Kuwait                   Cancelled
9W 583 Abu Dhabi - Mumbai               Cancelled
9W 584 Mumbai - Abu Dhabi               Cancelled
9W 591 Bahrain - Mumbai                 Cancelled
9W 592 Mumbai - Bahrain                 Cancelled
9W 605 Delhi - Srinagar                 Cancelled
9W 606 Srinagar - Delhi                 Cancelled
9W 607 Delhi - Guwahati                 Transferred to 9W 602
9W 608 Guwahati - Delhi                 Transferred to 9W 602
9W 609 Delhi - Leh                      Cancelled
9W 610 Leh - Delhi                      Cancelled
9W 615 Mumbai - Kolkata                 Transferred to 9W 201
9W 616 Kolkata - Mumbai                 Transferred to S2 616
9W 665 Mumbai - Lucknow                 Cancelled
9W 666 Lucknow - Mumbai                 Cancelled
 9W 706 Ahmedabad - Delhi               Transferred to 9W 705
 9W 723 Delhi - Khajuraho               Cancelled
 9W 723 Khajuraho -Varanasi             Cancelled
 9W 723 Varanasi - Delhi                Cancelled
 9W 725 Delhi - Lucknow                 Cancelled
 9W 726 Lucknow - Delhi                 Cancelled
 9W 727 Delhi - Patna                   Cancelled
 9W 728 Patna - Delhi                   Cancelled
 9W 733 Delhi - Chandigarh              Cancelled
 9W 734 Chandigarh - Delhi              Cancelled
 9W 739 Delhi - Chennai                 Cancelled
 9W 801 Delhi - Bengaluru               Cancelled
 9W 803 Bengaluru - Chennai             Cancelled
 9W 811 Delhi - Bengaluru               Cancelled
 9W 824 Chennai - Delhi                 Cancelled
 9W 825 Delhi - Hyderabad               Cancelled
 9W 826 Hyderabad - Delhi               Cancelled
 9W 827 Delhi - Hyderabad               Cancelled
 9W 828 Hyderabad - Delhi               Cancelled
 9W 829 Delhi - Chennai                 Cancelled
 9W 830 Chennai - Delhi                 Cancelled
 9W 832 Delhi - Chennai                 Cancelled
9W 2001 Mumbai - Ahmedabad              Transferred to S2 2001
9W 2009 Mumbai - Rajkot                 Cancelled
9W 2010 Rajkot - Mumbai                 Cancelled
9W 2012 Ahmedabad - Mumbai              Transferred to S2 2012
9W 2012 Mumbai - Chennai                Cancelled
9W 2047 Mumbai - Bhuj                   Cancelled
9W 2048 Bhuj - Mumbai                   Cancelled
9W 2053 Mumbai - Jaipur                 Cancelled
9W 2054 Jaipur - Mumbai                 Cancelled
9W 2055 Mumbai - Vadodara               Cancelled
9W 2056 Vadodara - Mumbai               Cancelled
9W 2101 Mumbai - Kochi                  Transferred to S2 2101
9W 2102 Kochi - Mumbai                  Transferred to S2 2102
9W 2103 Mumbai - Kochi                  Cancelled
9W 2105 Mumbai - Bengaluru              Cancelled
9W 2106 Bengaluru - Mumbai              Cancelled
9W 2107 Mumbai - Mangalore              Transferred to 9W 431
9W 2108 Mangalore - Mumbai              Transferred to 9W 432
9W 2111 Mumbai - Bengaluru              Cancelled
9W 2113 Bengaluru - Mumbai              Transferred to 9W 2117
9W 2114 Mumbai - Hyderabad              Cancelled
9W 2115 Hyderabad - Mumbai              Cancelled
9W 2116 Mumbai - Bengaluru              Transferred to 9W 2112
9W 2118 Mumbai - Chennai                Cancelled
9W 2119 Chennai - Mumbai                Cancelled
9W 2227 Delhi - Indore                  Cancelled
9W 2227 Indore - Bhopal                 Cancelled
9W 2227 Bhopal - Delhi                  Cancelled
9W 2303 Bengaluru - Mumbai              Cancelled
9W 2304 Bengaluru - Goa                 Cancelled
9W 2305 Goa - Bengaluru                 Cancelled
9W 2326 Bengaluru - Delhi               Cancelled
9W 2351 Chennai - Bengaluru             Cancelled
9W 2351 Bengaluru - Pune                Cancelled
9W 2352 Pune - Bengaluru                Cancelled
9W 2352 Bengaluru - Chennai             Cancelled
9W 2478 Kolkata - Agartala              Transferred to 9W 2478
9W 2478 Agartala - Guwahati             Transferred to 9W 2478
9W 2479 Guwahati - Agartala             Transferred to 9W 2479
9W 2479 Agartala - Kolkata              Transferred to 9W 2479
9W 2482 Kolkata - Guwahati              Cancelled
9W 2483 Guwahati - Kolkatta             Cancelled
9W 2503 Mumbai - Bhopal                 Cancelled
9W 2504 Bhopal - Mumbai                 Cancelled
9W 2505 Mumbai - Ahmedabad              Cancelled
9W 2506 Ahmedabad - Mumbai              Cancelled
9W 2507 Mumbai - Bhavnagar              Cancelled
9W 2508 Bhavnagar - Mumbai              Cancelled
9W 2509 Ahmedabad - Indore              Cancelled
9W 2509 Indore - Bhopal                 Cancelled
9W 2509 Bhopal - Raipur                 Cancelled
9W 2510 Raipur - Bhopal                 Cancelled
9W 2510 Bhopal - Indore                 Cancelled
9W 2510 Indore - Ahmedabad              Cancelled
9W 2543 Mumbai - Jodhpur                Cancelled
9W 2544 Jodhpur - Mumbai                Cancelled
9W 2573 Pune - Hyderabad                Cancelled
9W 2574 Hyderabad - Pune                Cancelled
9W 2601 Delhi - Vadodara                Transferred to 9W 705
9W 2602 Vadodara - Delhi                Transferred to 9W 705
9W 2631 Delhi - Amritsar                Cancelled
9W 2632 Amritsar - Delhi                Cancelled
9W 2701 Chennai - Mumbai                Cancelled
9W 2702 Hyderabad - Goa                 Cancelled
9W 2703 Goa - Hyderabad                 Cancelled
9W 2733 Chennai - Kochi                 Cancelled
9W 2734 Kochi - Chennai                 Cancelled
9W 2743 Bengaluru - Hyderabad           Cancelled
9W 2747 Hyderabad - Chennai             Cancelled
9W 2748 Chennai - Hyderabad             Cancelled
9W 2749 Hyderabad - Chennai             Cancelled
9W 2750 Chennai - Hyderabad             Cancelled
9W 3104 Kochi - Mumbai                  Cancelled
9W 3109 Mumbai - Aurangabad             Cancelled
9W 3110 Aurangabad - Mumbai             Cancelled
9W 3301 Mumbai - Udaipur                Cancelled
9W 3301 Udaipur - Jaipur                Cancelled
9W 3301 Jaipur - Delhi                  Cancelled
9W 3317 Delhi - Udaipur                 Cancelled
9W 3318 Udaipur - Delhi                 Cancelled
9W 3401 Delhi - Jaipur                  Cancelled
9W 3401 Jaipur - Udaipur                Cancelled
9W 3401 Udaipur - Delhi                 Cancelled
9W 8609 Delhi - Leh                     Cancelled
9W 8610 Leh - Delhi                     Cancelled

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