A flash strike by employees of Air India’s ground handling arm, Air India Air Transport Services Ltd (AIATSL) on Wednesday and Thursday led to massive flight delays at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport.
The employees of AIATSL stopped work at Mumbai airport on Wednesday night, demanding payment of Diwali bonus and reinstatement of three of their colleagues whose contracts were not renewed by the company.
Due to this sudden situation, many Air India flights were delayed. Around 37 flights, including international ones, were delayed by 2.5 hours to 3 hours till 3:00 p.m, Thursday. However, no flights were cancelled.
Here are a few details of the incident :
- The arrival of eight flights and the departure of 16 flights were delayed.
- Among those were the 1.45 am Mumbai-Bangkok flight which was delayed by over six hours and departed at 8:18 am
- The Mumbai-Newark flight left at 4:08 am which was late by 2.5 hours.
- Several passengers took to Twitter to complain about the flight delays and long wait at the airport.
- The lack of ground handling staff during the night when a majority of international flight depart led to flight delays.
The Strike was called off this morning after discussions with the management. Most of the issues have been sorted out and employees are back to work. Flight operations are back to normal now. But, the employees whose contracts were not renewed have not been taken back.
AIATSL, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the national carrier, provides ground handling services to Air India across airports in the country. It has about 5,000 employees, including those on contract.
Ground crew, generally carry out functions like loading/unloading bags and cargo, checking-in passengers, cleaning aircraft and much more. They also take up similar duties for foreign airlines on a contract basis.