AIR IN­DIA’S WAKE-UP CALL

The na­tional car­rier has lit­tle re­spect for its pa­trons

DNA (Delhi) - - OPINION -

In the line of duty, are duty hours that im­por­tant? Had doc­tors, sol­diers, and po­lice, to name a few pro­fes­sions, stuck to an eight-hour sched­ule, re­fus­ing to pay heed to a cri­sis at hand, imag­ine what it would have led to. Ut­ter chaos! But in the case of air­line pilots, stick­ing to the sched­ule is im­por­tant since work­ing longer than usual would have been in vi­o­la­tion of the safety norms laid down by the Direc­torate Gen­eral of Civil Avi­a­tion and at­tracted dis­ci­plinary ac­tion. Hence, the Air In­dia pi­lot’s de­ci­sion to leave the cock­pit of a Delhi-bound air­craft at Jaipur air­port, may not be viewed as a sign of self­ish­ness and ap­a­thy. One can’t, how­ever, miss the point that his re­fusal to fly in­con­ve­nienced more than 40 pas­sen­gers. The big­ger fault in this case lies at the doorstep of the Air In­dia man­age­ment, which had failed to ar­range for a pi­lot to ferry th­ese pas­sen­gers. The pi­lot and the crew of a flight com­ing from Delhi were sup­posed to trans­port this set of peo­ple to Delhi but were de­layed be­cause of the dense smog in Delhi. Still, such fac­tors should have been borne in mind by Air In­dia. It can­not and should not wash its hands of be­cause its re­spon­si­bil­ity in­cludes en­sur­ing that the peo­ple who had boarded the air­craft reach their des­ti­na­tion on time. Air In­dia needs to shape up if it wants to stay in the com­pe­ti­tion. Its cava­lier at­ti­tude to­wards pro­fes­sion­al­ism has sur­faced time and again, giv­ing the na­tional car­rier a bad name in the mar­ket. Sur­pris­ingly, its man­age­ment is yet to show any de­ci­sive sign of get­ting its act to­gether. That’s in­deed un­for­tu­nate! An un­wieldy be­he­moth, Air In­dia is tak­ing a long time to wake up and smell the cof­fee. Its mount­ing losses and dwin­dling pa­tron list had sounded alarm bells long ago.

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