Air India operations yet to be normalised

Airline officials said they had not been taking bookings due to the strike and this had led to the cancellation of about 90% of its flights. Some flights will be programmed by the afternoon and gradually the situation will improve, they added

New Delhi: Air India operations were yet to be normalised today after the pilots called off their 10-day strike, as the airline had stopped taking any bookings for over a week, reports PTI.

Airline officials said they had not been taking bookings due to the strike and this had led to the cancellation of about 90% of its flights. Moreover, 60 aircraft of the airlines were grounded.

“If we don’t have bookings, it is not wise to fly an empty aircraft. We will now open bookings and start rostering the pilots and other crew members. The process will take at least two days to normalise,” officials said.

The contingency plan, which was put in place for the strike, is still in operation, they said.

Some flights will be programmed by the afternoon and gradually the situation will improve, airline sources said.

Air India pilots had last night called off their 10-day-old strike that resulted in an estimated loss of over Rs150 crore after the government agreed to reinstate sacked and suspended pilots and look into their demands within a time-frame.

Over 800 pilots, belonging to the erstwhile Indian Airlines and owing allegiance to the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA), as also the executive pilots, will return to work, captain AS Bhinder, the association president had said last night.

Expressing happiness over the pilots ending their stir, civil aviation minister Vayalar Ravi had said, “There is no ill feeling and there will be no feeling of vengeance.”

Asked about the demands of the pilots, he had said, “Interests of all sections of employees will be taken care of by the Dharmadhikari Committee... We have received representations from other sections of employees also and asked them to approach the committee.”

It would submit its report in about four months, he said.

The three-member justice Dharmadhikari Committee, set up to go into all merger-related HR issues facing Air India employees, has started its work and has already met a cross-section of employees to elicit their views.

Mr Bhinder, along with ICPA general secretary Rishabh Kapur, had said “We have called off the strike as the government has assured us that all the pilots sacked and suspended during the stir would be reinstated and ICPA’s recognition restored.”

Both the leaders, who signed the minutes of an understanding reached with the civil aviation ministry, said the government also assured them that it would look into their demand for probing the “irregularities that have taken place in the airline”.

The striking pilots had been demanding that all sackings, suspensions and transfers effected during the strike period be revoked, ICPA’s recognition be restored, the contempt of court petition filed by Air India management be withdrawn, a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the alleged corruption and mismanagement be ordered and all other issues be tackled in a time-bound manner.

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Air India operations yet to be normalised

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Shares prices head higher, but for how long? Friday Closing Report

We see a resistance at around 5,600-5,650 on the Nifty

The decline over the last few days was on low volume, which possibly means that many players have not had the chance to sell earlier. They will emerge as sellers once the market makes a decent recovery.

The Sensex and Nifty opened on a positive note at 18,290 and 5,478. The indices were strong and stayed above yesterday's closing levels throughout the session. The intra-day low on the Sensex and Nifty was at 18,272 and 5,472. The Sensex closed at 18,519, a good 308 points up and the Nifty ended the day at 5,551, a gain of 92 points, after a nine-day losing streak.

Despite global markets closing with huge losses on sliding commodity prices, setting off worries about the economic recovery, the Indian market bucked the trend and opened with smart gains. It was smooth sailing till the noon session, when a small bout of profit-booking saw the indices paring some of the earlier gains.

However, after touching the low point of the day, the market resumed its upmove. The indices scaled the day's high at around 2.50pm and closed with strong gains. The advance-decline ratio on the National Stock Exchange was a positive 882:509.

Since 1990, the market has been negative for nine consecutive days on five occasions (excluding the current fall). Of these five times, it has turned positive on the tenth trading day on four occasions. Today, the market ended positive after closing negative for nine days. But today's gains should not be misunderstood as an end of the decline.

While the broader indices also closed higher, they underperformed the Sensex. The BSE Mid-cap index surged 0.93% and the BSE Small-cap index climbed 0.67%.

All sectoral gauges closed with gains today. BSE Bankex (up 3.71%), BSE Auto (up 3.13%), BSE IT (up 1.84%), BSE Realty (up 1.45%) and BSE Capital Goods (up 1.30%) were the top gainers.

Tata Motors (up 5.65%), ICICI Bank (up 5.16%), Hero Honda (up 3.93%), HDFC Bank (up 3.55%) and BHEL (up 2.98%) were the top performers on the Sensex. On the other hand, Bharti Airtel (down 1.92%), Reliance Infrastructure (down 1.60%), Sterlite Industries (down 1.47%) and ONGC (down 1.02%) were the major losers.

Foreign companies and their subsidiaries continued to remain bullish on Indian businesses, as inbound transactions worth $2.28 billion were announced in the month of April, taking the total merger and acquisition (M&A) deal value to a whopping $4.4 billion (around Rs19,800 crore). According to global consultancy firm Grant Thornton, as many as 64 M&A deals worth $4.4 billion were announced in April.

Out of the total $4.4 billion, there were 21 outbound deals, wherein Indian companies acquired businesses outside India, in April totally valued at $1.91 billion and the total value of 17 inbound deals was $2.28 billion.

Markets in Asia closed lower on the last trading day of the week, on a fall in commodity-related stocks, following a slide in crude and metal prices. South Korean and Japanese markets, which opened after a long holiday, were the top losers today.

The Shanghai Composite fell by 0.29%, the Hang Seng declined 0.44%, the Jakarta Composite slipped 0.46%, the KLSE Composite was down 0.37%, the Nikkei 225 tanked 1.45%, the Straits Times lost 0.19%, the Seoul Composite tumbled 1.52% and the Taiwan Weighted lost 0.46%.

Back home, the sell-off by foreign institutional investors continued on Thursday, as they were net sellers of stocks worth Rs779.48 crore, whereas domestic institutional investors were net buyers of stocks worth Rs937.23 crore.

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