Several domestic and international Air India flights have been disrupted since the weekend, when dozens executive pilots took sick leave en masse in protest against a recent move to reduce their allowances.

Flights were cancelled in major cities such as New Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai as the pilots asked India's flag carrier to roll back the cuts, which varied between 25-50% of their flying allowance.

Air India said that only 12 flights out of New Delhi were affected today, with the services in the other cities resuming after pilots returned to work following talks with senior company executives.

The carrier said late on Sunday that it had formed a committee comprising senior company executives and representatives of the pilots to discuss modifications to the planned cuts. However, it also warned about the "difficult times the airline was going through and why it was essential to control costs".

Last week, Air India announced plans to cut "productivity-linked incentives" and said that 7,000 employees would be affected. This was one of its steps to reduce costs after it made a loss of around 50 billion Indian rupees ($1 billion) for the year to 31 March.

The state-owned airline has been losing money for years, and has asked the government for an equity infusion of 12.31 billion Indian rupees and a soft loan of 27.5 billion Indian rupees that will be repaid over 15 years. The government, in turn, has asked it to come up with a cost-cutting and restructuring programme that will help it to return to profitability.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news