The civil aviation ministry Tuesday asked the Jet Airways management and its pilots to sort out issues through dialogue rather than inconvenience thousands of passengers. It also asked states to examine administrative action to ensure normal flight operations.
Civil Aviation Secretary M. Madhavan Nambiar's appeal came after some 400 Jet Airways pilots reported "sick" Tuesday, resulting in the cancellation of nearly 200 flights leaving an estimated 20,000 passengers stranded.
"Our view is very clear. We have said we'd like this to be solved. Both sides should come to the table," Nambiar told a news conference here. He added that all states were also requested to examine the need to invoke provisions of the Essential Services Maintenance Act.
When asked how the government was treating the mass "sick leave" being resorted to by pilots, the aviation secretary said both the ministry and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation were examining the issue.
"We will see what are the violations. These are matters that will be examined," he said. "Any act on the part of pilots that results in last-minute cancellation of flights and harassment of passengers will be treated as an act against the public interest."
He said Jet Airways chairman Naresh Goyal had met with him and Director General of Civil Aviation S.N.A. Zaidi to give an update on the issue and had sought their help in ensuring that the pilots report back at work.
"Jet Airways understands that the pilots are also meeting. They have to sort it out."
Asked to respond to the complaints by passengers that they were not informed about the mass strike in advance, the aviation secretary said Jet Airways has been asked to look into the matter on an urgent basis.
"Jet Airways has to take real proactive steps to ensure proper re-endorsements (of tickets) and proper warning to passengers in the next couple of days," said Nambiar and hoped the matters will be sorted out at the earliest.