Jet stalemate ends after five days

      Jet Airways pilots ended their five-day-old stir against their management early on Sunday morning with a settlement under which the four sacked pilots would be reinstated and a consultative group made up of the two sides formed to resolve all other issues. The breakthrough, which came at around 2 a.m. this morning, ends an impasse that began on Tuesday over the sacking of pilots. It was achieved after a meeting here that lasted over ten hours. Jet Airways Executive Director Saroj Dutta said flight operations of the airline on interantional routes would resume immediately while the domestic services would normalize by noon on Sunday. Announcing the settlement at a news conference, the pilots union -- National Aviators Guild -- leader Sam Thomas, flanked by Jet Airways Executive Director Saroj Dutta and NAG President Girish Kaushik, said it has been agreed that the four sacked pilots would be reinstated with immediate effect. A consultative group would be set up comprising the Jet CEO Hafiz Ali, two directors of the airlines, two representatives of flight operations and five pilots to continue the process of dialogue on all outstanding issues as well those which will come up. Asked about losses suffered by the ailine during the five days of the agitation, Dutta said no estimates had been done as yet. However, he added that Jet's daily revenue of eight million dollars "had dropped dramatically" and the number of passengers came down from 23,000 per day to 7,500. On the contentious issue of the pilots' right to form a union, Kaushik said there was no question of dissolving the NAG which is already a registered body. The Registrar of Trade Unions is reviewing the NAG's registration and if the decision goes against the pilots, they would not pursue it. "If there is discrepancy, it is left to the Registrar or the law of the land", Kaushik said. Thomas added "we will not pursue the matter afresh." They said that the Society for Welfare of Indian Pilots, formed about a decade ago, would address welfare issues. It was made clear that the management would take no punitive action against any one who had participated in the agitation.

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