Pilots at Indonesia’s state-run airline strike

Indonesia: Pilots with state-run carrier Garuda Indonesia went on a 24-hour strike over pay and working conditions Thursday, but there appeared to be no major disruption in service.The work stoppage was called after talks between the 600-strong union and management fell apart.The airline’s local pilots claim they earn up to 30 percent less than its foreign pilots and want that fixed.

“We just want to be heard,” said Capt. Stephanus Geraldus, chairman of the Garuda’s Pilot Association. “Not only are we underpaid, we’re overworked.””The board of directors should know all this undermines safety.”It was not clear how many pilots joined in the strike.Geraldus said 500 initially agreed to take part, but some were eventually convinced to fly Thursday.

He did not elaborate.Garuda, which has 900 pilots and 395 flights daily, leased a new fleet of Boeing 737 Next Generation last year but the planes were forced to sit in hangars for months because there were not enough pilots to fly them.Rather than risking further financial losses, the airline brought in about 40 foreigners to operate the new planes and train new pilots.Garuda, which also flies to Europe and the Middle East, said it would make sure operations continued to run normally Thursday.

There were enough non-striking pilots to keep things running, the carrier said, and it was ready to move pilots from administrative jobs to the cockpit, if necessary.Flight instructors also were on standby.There were no signs of long lines or stranded passengers at the main airport in the capital, Jakarta.Ari Sapari, Garuda’s chief operating officer, said while there had been a few delays across the country of 240 million, more than 50 flights had taken off normally by midmorning. – Yahoonews