AIR IN­DIA CREW RE­SIST COST-CUT­TING

Hindustan Times (Patna) - - FRONT PAGE - Tushar Sri­vas­tava

NEW DELHI: While the avi­a­tion min­istry ap­pears keen to turn­around debt-laden Air In­dia with the government in­ject­ing thou­sands of crores of tax­payer’s money, abrupt flight can­cel­la­tions, per­pet­ual de­lays and acute staff short­age at south­ern bases could put a span­ner in its works.

The ail­ing air­line’s crew seems to have no in­ten­tion of ful­fill­ing the min­istry’s man­date to cut losses and turn­around.

Avi­a­tion min­is­ter Ajit Singh, wor­ried by the pro­jected net short­fall of R404 crore per month in AI, ap­pointed a com­mit­tee headed by an IIM Ahmed­abad pro­fes­sor last week to sug­gest cost-cut­ting mea­sures and cut down waste­ful ex­pen­di­ture.

Cost cut­ting, it seems, is the last thing se­nior AI of­fi­cials are both­ered about.

“Stew­ardesses who used to op­er­ate the Chen­nai-DubaiChen­nai flight on a quick re­turn ba­sis with­out halt­ing at Dubai are now op­er­at­ing the Chen­naiColombo-Chen­nai flight prior to op­er­at­ing the Chen­nai-Dubai flight, and as a re­sult are forced to take a break at Dubai, whereby the com­pany in­curs ex­pen­di­ture by way of ho­tel ac­com­mo­da­tion and forex al­lowances for cabin crew,” said an of­fi­cial on the con­di­tion of anonymity.

Pi­lots trained on the new Dream­lin­ers con­tinue to com­mute to Delhi and Mum­bai from south­ern bases, in­cur­ring more ex­pen­di­ture in terms of ho­tel ac­co­mo­da­tion and travel al­lowance, be­sides oc­cu­py­ing rev­enue seats when flights are over­booked.

“Old style of ma­nip­u­la­tion con­tin­ues in AI,” said Cap­tain Mo­han Ran­ganathan, an avi­a­tion ex­pert.

“The Trivan­drum and Cali­cut bases func­tion with only two com­man­ders and even a ma­jor base like Chen­nai does not have a suf­fi­cient num­ber of com­man­ders,” stated an­other of­fi­cial. A sin­gle pi­lot re­port­ing sick for a flight will then have to be re­placed by an­other pi­lot who is ros­tered for a later flight and the chain re­ac­tion it sets off is enough to dis­rupt the en­tire ros­ter for the re­main­ing days.

COST CUT­TING, IT SEEMS, IS THE LAST THING SE­NIOR AI OF­FI­CIALS ARE BOTH­ERED ABOUT

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