Air India has sacked 71 pilots and cancelled as many as 17 international services because of an ongoing labour dispute.

The pilots, who were from Indian Airlines, which merged with Air India in 2007, went on strike on 7 May by reporting sick. They were protesting the airline's decision not to train them for the Boeing 787 aircraft.

India's flag carrier sacked them as they continued to defy a court order, which declared that the strikes were illegal and issued "restraining orders" to the pilots.

Air India is not hiring replacements, but a spokesman says that the airline has not had to ground any aircraft as a result of the strikes.

However, up to 17 non-stop international services including those to London, Paris, Frankfurt, Seoul, Tokyo, Shanghai and New York have been cancelled because of the strikes.

The airline is instead on a "contingency schedule", which involves operating a number of its North American services via Europe.

It is not certain if the strikes will continue after the pilots were sacked.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news