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62 grounded flights,12,000 fewer passengers and a lot less work

The Mumbai airport had 62 fewer domestic flights,which meant 12,000 fewer passengers and a relaxed day for Air Traffic Controllers.

The Mumbai airport had 62 fewer domestic flights,which meant 12,000 fewer passengers and a relaxed day for Air Traffic Controllers. Throughout Wednesday,the only work related to Jet Airways,whose pilots were on strike for a second consecutive day,was the refund of tickets.

Air Traffic Controllers said traffic movement had come down by 10 per cent and as a result their day was considerably tension-free. “Though it is a sad thing that traffic fell by 10 per cent,controllers were pretty relaxed. A difference of 10 per cent in peak hours makes a difference,” said an airport official.

Ground staff of Jet Airways were practically jobless,apart from those handling the refund process. “Since morning,passengers have been turning up to cancel their tickets. Other than that,all we have been doing is apologising to them for the inconvenience caused,” said a ground employee.

“I had booked tickets to Delhi for my family a month ago; we had planned a trip to Mussoorie. Since I had bought them a month ago,I got them cheap,but now my travel budget will almost double if we still decide to go,” said Vibhuti Aggarwal. She said she had got the tickets at an average Rs 3,000 each.

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The same tickets will cost her over Rs 7,000 each now.

Fourteen aircraft of Jet Airways remained parked in the apron area. “We had asked them to remove their aircraft from the apron area but some are still there. Two have been parked in remote bays and two in their hangar,” said an airport official.

“We did not face any difficulties in operations as no new aircraft had to be accommodated at the airport today,” said the Mumbai airport spokesperson.

Contempt notice

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The Bombay High Court issued a contempt notice to the National Aviators Guild,pilots’ union of Jet Airways. The contempt notice was issued by Justice Dhananjay Chandrachud after Jet authorities moved the court,contending that despite High Court orders passed on September 8 restraining the union from going on an illegal strike,the pilots had shown no intention to resume duty. The court had taken cognisance of the pilots’ absence in the form of mass sick leave,which it considered wilful defiance of the HC order. The notice has to be replied to by September 14.

First published on: 10-09-2009 at 01:50:01 am
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