New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday met Aviation Minister Ajit Singh over the ongoing strike by the Air India pilots that has crippled the national carrier.
Singh reportedly told the minister that steps must be taken to ensure that airfares did not rise despite the strike.
Nearly 50 pilots called in sick earlier this week demanding parity in the training programme of pilots between the Air India and Indian Airlines.
The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain Air India's contempt petition against the Indian Pilots Guild and asked Air India to sit with pilots and sort out the differences.
A bench headed by Justice TS Thakur said that they (pilots) have done which amounts to contempt of court and suggested the airlines to speak with them to sort out the differences.
"They have done nothing for obstruction of justice or to bring disrepute to the court. Your problem is with them. You sit with them and sort out the differences. Don't resort to contempt proceedings," the bench said.
The Air India pilots strike entered the fourth day on Friday and the crisis continued to hit flights. Twelve Air India flights were cancelled on Friday. Ten more pilots were sacked on Thursday taking the total number of sacked pilots to 46. Air India has also stopped all international bookings till May 15.
Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh on Friday said that he hoped that the Air India pilots who have called in sick get well soon. "The pilots have reported sick. So, I hope they get well soon," Ajit Singh said.
In a warning of the sorts, he also said that he hoped that Air India crisis doesn't deepen. "I hope things do not go from bad to worse and I hope that Air India doesn't enter the ICU," he said.
Air India has been suffering from a loss of Rs 10 crore per day due to the strike and the government has been adamant that talks are possible only if the pilots get back to work.