AIR INDIA’S WAKE-UP CALL
The national carrier has little respect for its patrons
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.