Air India begins international operations; pilots want government to initiate talks

As the stir by the pilots entered the ninth day, the Airlines curtailed and clubbed many of its flights to the US and Europe to stabilise international operations

New Delhi: In an attempt to restore normalcy, Air India on Wednesday began international operations to the US and Europe as part of its contingency plan even as striking pilots asked the government to initiate preliminary talks, reports PTI.

As the stir by the pilots entered the ninth day, the Airlines curtailed and clubbed many of its flights to the US and Europe to stabilise international operations.

"We have put in force our contingency plan and started operating our international flights, which were affected for the past eight days causing great inconvenience to our customers. Slowly, we hope that our operations would normalise," said an Air India official.

The national carrier operated Delhi-Paris-New York (JFK) and Delhi-Frankfurt-Chicago flight early this morning while it would be operating Delhi-Shanghai and Delhi-London as per schedule.

"We have merged Mumbai-London and Mumbai-Shanghai flights with the Delhi-London and Delhi-Shanghai flights. We are operating these flights with Boeing 777 ER aircraft so we won't have problem accommodating the passengers," the official said, adding this will bring relief to many of our passengers who were anxious about their flights status.

Most of our passengers are those who have booked tickets months ago for their journey, he said, adding if situation permits then the airline may open its bookings for ultra-long flights, which have been suspended till tomorrow.

"We have deployed Airbus 320 aircraft for our short haul flights to Bangkok, Singapore and other destinations," he said.

In another development, the striking Air India pilots asked the government to at least initiate preliminary talks. "The government should at least being preliminary talks. We are ready for talks but they should formally invite us for talks to resolve the issue," Jitendra Awhad, chief of Indian Pilots Guild told PTI in Mumbai.

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'Wait-listed Tatkal passengers to get preference over others'

If an extra coach is added to a particular train, then preference would be given to wait-listed Tatkal ticket holders over other wait-listed passengers

New Delhi: Railways decided to give preference to wait-listed passengers under the Tatkal ticket scheme over other passengers while clearing the waiting list in the event of addition of extra coaches to the train, reports PTI.

To clear the extra rush of passengers, Railways have introduced many summer specials as well as resorted to adding extra coaches in trains.

"If an extra coach is added to a particular train, then preference would be given to wait-listed Tatkal ticket holders. After that other class wait-listed passengers will be adjusted in the coach," a senior Railway Ministry official said.

Passengers shell out more to purchase tickets under the Tatkal scheme.

In November last year, Railways had reduced the advance reservation period of Tatkal tickets from two days to one day (24 hours).

For example, if a train is to depart from the originating station on second day of the month then the Tatkal quota for that particular train will open at 08.00 hours of the first day of the month.

As per the Tatkal scheme, a maximum of four passengers can be booked per PNR for Tatkal tickets and no refund will be granted on cancellation of confirmed Tatkal tickets except in exceptional circumstances.

No duplicate tickets will be issued except only in exceptional cases on payment of full fare, including Tatkal charges.

Tatkal tickets shall be issued only on production of prescribed photo identity card. For this purpose, a self attested photo copy of the proof of identity of any one passenger is required to be attached to the requisition slip.

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US slaps sanctions against Dawood aides Chhota Shakeel and Tiger Memon

Chhota Shakeel is Dawood's lieutenant who coordinates for D Company with other organized crime and terror groups while Memon is a trusted lieutenant who controls the group's businesses across South Asia and is wanted by Indian authorities for his involvement in the 1993 Mumbai bombings

Washington: The United States slapped sanctions against underworld don Dawood Ibrahim's two top aides Chhota Shakeel and Tiger Memon for their role in drug trafficking in the region, reports PTI.

The US Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Chhota Shakeel and Ibrahim 'Tiger' Memon as specially designated narcotics traffickers pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act) for their roles as part of a criminal organization run by Dawood Ibrahim known as 'D Company'.

Dawood was named as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist in October 2003, and in June 2006, he was named as a Significant Foreign Narcotics Trafficker.

Also in June 2006, the Dawood Organization was named as a Significant Foreign Narcotics Trafficker.

"Treasury continues to target the nexus of crime and terrorism in South Asia with today's action against one of the world's most notorious criminal organizations," said OFAC Director Adam Szubin.

Chhota Shakeel, 57, is Dawood's lieutenant who coordinates for D Company with other organized crime and terror groups. Memon, 52, is a trusted lieutenant who controls the group's businesses across South Asia and is wanted by Indian authorities for his involvement in the 1993 Mumbai bombings.

Interpol has issued provisional arrest warrants or "red notices" for Shakeel and Memon, both Indian nationals.

As a result of today's action, US persons are prohibited from conducting financial or commercial transactions with Chhota Shakeel and 'Tiger' Memon, and any assets they may have under US jurisdiction are frozen.

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