Mumbai, Nov 8 (IANS) At least three dozen domestic and international flight arrivals and departures were disrupted affecting thousands of passengers after over 1,000 contractual ground staffers resorted to a flash strike at the Mumbai airport early on Thursday, hitting Diwali travel schedules badly, officials said.
"Due to a sudden industrial situation at Mumbai Airport by Air India Air Transport Services Ltd (AIATSL) employees, some flights have got delayed. We are assessing the situation and all efforts are being made to minimize the delays or disruptions," said an AI official earlier today.
To tackle the situation, the AI summoned the permanent employees to normalize the flight operations, especially the early morning departures which were delayed by around two hours.
According to unofficial sources, the action by the AIATSL's contract workers came as they were not paid Diwali bonus and negotiations were on to resolve the issue this evening.
As per the situation till this evening, at least 37 AI flights, including eight arrivals and 16 departures comprising domestic and international services, were delayed by an average two hours due to the agitation, sending passenger schedules haywire at the height of the Diwali festival.
Attempting to mollify the passengers' ire, the AI said in view of the situation, it would waive all penalties for re-issuance, date change, no-show, cancellation or refund charges to and from Mumbai for all domestic international flights from Thursday to Saturday.
Many affected passengers resorted to social media to vent their ire against the AI management as their festival and holiday plans were in ruins owing to the flight disruptions.
Outbound domestic and international passengers complained of lack of information from the AI -- there was no staff at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport to guide the stranded passengers, and there were no indications whether their flights would take off or when.