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Jet Airways pilots end stir, flights to resume immediately

Jet Airways pilots and management reached an agreement late Saturday night, ending the five-day-old stir. 

The breakthrough in the impasse between the pilots, who had begun their agitation on Tuesday protesting the sacking of their colleagues, came after a marathon meeting here lasting more than ten hours.

Jet Airways Executive Director Saroj Dutta said flight operations of the airline on international routes would resume immediately while the domestic services would normalize by noon on Sunday, PTI reported.

Announcing the settlement at a news conference, the pilots’ union National Aviators Guild leader Sam Thomas, flanked by Jet Airways Executive Director Saroj Dutta and NAG President Girish Kaushik, said it has been agreed that the four sacked pilots would be reinstated with immediate effect.

According to PTI, a consultative group would be set up comprising the Jet CEO Hafiz Ali, two directors of the airlines, two representatives of flight operations and five pilots to continue the process of dialogue on all outstanding issues as well those which will come up.

Asked about losses suffered by the airline during the five days of the agitation, Dutta no estimates have been done as yet. However, Jet’s daily revenue of eight million dollars “had dropped dramatically” and the number of passengers came down from 23,000 per day to 7,500.

On the contentious issue of the pilots’ right to form a union, Kaushik said in reply to a question that there was no question of dissolving the NAG which is already a registered body.

The Registrar of Trade Unions is reviewing the NAG’s registration and if the decision goes against the pilots, they would not pursue it.

“If there is discrepancy, it is left to the Registrar or the law of the land”, Kaushik said and Thomas added “we will not pursue the matter afresh.”

The problems between the two sides would be resolve through the consultative group while the Society for Welfare of Indian Pilots, formed about a decade ago, would address the welfare issues, the two NAG leaders said.

While all the four dismissed pilots would be taken back, no punitive action against any one who participated in the agitation.

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