Air India pilot strike hurting air freight industry

By Freddie Pierce
The Air India pilot strike is now in its ninth day, and its looking more and more as if the pilots are going to get their way. Air India pilots are dem...

The Air India pilot strike is now in its ninth day, and it’s looking more and more as if the pilots are going to get their way.

Air India pilots are demanding higher wages and a probe into what they call the company’s “near-destruction” by corrupt and incompetent officials. On Wednesday, the ministry of civil aviation stepped in and held productive talks with the Air India pilots.

Part of the intrigue here is that Air India is a state-owned airline, and while privatizing the airline could solve some of the issues at hand, there remains a polarizing debate over the privatization of a struggling state-owned business.

The nation might not have a choice, however, as all the power seems to be held by the Air India pilots. The pilot strike is crippling one of the larger economies in the world at a critical time, with the global supply chain still trying to pick up the pieces following the Japan disaster.

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More than 90 percent of Air India’s domestic flights have been cancelled, with tens of thousands of passengers affected. The Air India pilot strike is hurting more than just the passengers, as the pilot strike is affecting the air freight industry with cargo flights being canceled.

The pilot strike has hit the Indian air freight industry hard, as about 30 percent of its revenue on passenger flights comes directly from the freight the planes carry in the holds.

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