Air India Pilots 'Ready For Talks' to End Strike

Striking pilots of the national carrier Air India have agreed to hold talks with the government, reports say.

Air India PLANE

Striking pilots of the national carrier Air India have agreed to hold talks with the government, reports say.

Dozens of flights have been cancelled because of the strike, which has entered its 18th day.

The airline has sacked more than 100 pilots over the past two weeks in a dispute over training.

The pilots have sought a meeting with the aviation minister, a day after he said the government may reconsider reinstating the sacked pilots.

Ajit Singh said there is "no bar on taking back sacked pilots" and it can be done "on a case-by-case basis only if all pilots first return to work".

The Indian Pilots Guild union, to which most of the striking pilots belong, has indicated that they are ready to return to work if the sacked pilots are reinstated, the state broadcaster All India Radio said.

Reports said about 200 pilots have called in sick amid a dispute over training for the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner planes.

The pilots are protesting against the decision to train pilots from Indian Airlines, which merged with Air India in 2007, to fly the new planes.

Air India pilots say that as the planes were ordered before the merger, they should be given priority for training.

The Delhi High Court has ruled that the pilots' strike was "illegal" and ordered them back to work, but many pilots have refused to return to duty.