A day after Air India pilots called off their 59-day strike, the sparring continued Thursday with the management saying that it was still to get any official communication but the aviators maintaining that they had written to the airline's chief.
"We are only getting information from the media that the strike has ended. No formal communication has been given to us by the pilots or their lawyers," a senior Air India official told IANS.
According to the official, the status of the airline's crippled international operations and revenue lost remain the same.
"We are operating very few international operations. Our revenue losses are still there, so what has really changed?" asked the airline official.
The pilots countered that they had written to Air India Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) Rohit Nandan intimating him that the strike has ended.
"We have written a letter to the CMD yesterday (Wednesday). We are also submitting our affidavits to the high court stating that we are ready and willing to join back our duties," Rohit Kapahi, committee member of the striking aviators' union Indian Pilots' Guild (IPG), told IANS.
According to an airline official, before resuming their duties, the pilots would first have to get their fitness checked by a team of doctors and undergo refresher training and a mandatory route flying check.
"There are four levels that the pilots need to cross, including fitness test, ground training refresher, simulator trials and finally a route check exam. Even if pilots join back today, these procedures will take nearly 15-20 days to complete," the official said.
For the route flying check, the pilots who have not flown an aircraft over a period of 30 days will operate a flight with a check (instructor) pilot, who will oversee their performance. After the process, the pilots resuming duty will be assigned a flying schedule.
The trouble for the airline started May 8 when the IPG members took mass sick leave, protesting the move to provide Boeing-787 Dreamliner training to pilots from the erstwhile Indian Airlines.
Air India and Indian Airlines were merged in 2007 to form a single entity to overcome their sub-optimal performance and in the hope the step would result in a Rs.1,000 crore profit in the first year itself.
The strike crippled Air India's international operations and caused an estimate revenue loss of Rs.625 crore.
The losses will keep on mounting till operations are completely restored, the official said.
The grounded fleet of Boeing 777s, unused manpower and absence from key routes have hit the airlines' chances of a financial turnaround.
Currently, the airline is operating only 38 of its 45 international services. Among the axed destinations are Hong Kong, Osaka, Seoul and Toronto.