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A strike by 660 pilots from Air India has entered its third day, stranding thousands of passsengers across India. The pilots are demanding equal pay after their former employer, Indian Airlines, merged with Air India in 2007.
As the strike by Air India pilots enters its third day on Friday, thousands of passengers are stranded at airports across India.
More than 660 pilots from the Indian Commercial Pilots Association went on an indefinite strike on Wednesday. The pilots belonged to the former Indian Airlines, and have since been employed by Air India after the merger of the two carriers in 2007, and are now demanding equal pay.
With more than 80 flights cancelled so far, angry passengers are blaming the pilots.
[S. P. Singh, Stranded Passenger]:
"This is an insult to the country. The government is giving money separately to Air India. After that its pilots do such things, which is wrong. We common people are affected by this, and we are being disregarded in front of foreign countries."
Passengers also say that ticket prices with other airlines have risen due to the strike, adding to their concerns.
[Shrabni Seth, Stranded Passenger]:
"My son is studying in Siliguri and I want to go there urgently. I am not getting tickets as a lot of problems are going on because of this strike. The rush is high at other airways. Here also the flights are getting cancelled and hence we are facing lot of problems. So, they should have thought about the difficulty us people would be facing because of all these. Tickets are available in other airways but the prices are too high, which everyone could not afford."
The government is ruling out any talks with the striking pilots unless they get back to work.
The High Court has called the strike illegal and directed the pilots to resume work immediately.