New Delhi: The 58-day-long pilots' strike in Air India, which was called off late last night, was the second longest since the national carrier came into existence in 1946, after a 90-day strike by cockpit crew 38 years ago.
While the strike by its pilots in 1974 to protest cost cutting measures by the airline after a massive hike in fuel prices went on for 90 days, a strike by Air India's flight engineers had lasted 56 days in 1993-94.
Before the 1993-94 stir, the second longest strike was in erstwhile Indian Airlines whose pilots went on a five-week agitation in 1991-92 demanding a hike in wages and allowances.
This time, Indian Pilots' Guild (IPG), which represents about 450 pilots of the merged national carrier who mainly operate long-haul, wide-body planes, had struck work since May 7 over career progression issues.
The latest strike, which also saw pilots going on protest fast in Delhi and Mumbai from June 24, was the longest since the merger of Air India and Indian Airlines in 2007.
There have been several strikes since the merger so far, with a major one by Indian Commercial Pilots Association, representing the erstwhile Indian Airlines pilots, lasting 11 days last year to demand pay parity with their IPG colleagues.
In May 2010, Air India's biggest union, Air Corporation Employees' Union, and Air India Aircraft Engineers' Association had struck work, leading to the sacking of 56 staffers and de-recognition of both these unions.