Indian pilot strike enters third day, flights hit

NEW DELHI, September 28, 2009 (AFP) – Debt-ridden Air India cancelled around 40 flights on Monday as management and striking pilots of the state-run carrier met to negotiate an end to three days of stoppages over a slash in bonuses. But senior pilots’ representative V.K. Bhalla told the Press Trust of India news agency that talks would not succeed unless pilots received their incentive payments. About 80 pilots failed to show up for work, Air India spokesman Jitender Bharghava told AFP, with several international flights out of New Delhi airport cancelled.

The cost-saving measures have been introduced to ease pressure on the ailing company, which posted an 875-million-dollar loss in the last financial year.

Bharghava said there was no question of the company backing down on the bonus cuts.