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Air India management under lens: Minister

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on February 17, 2011 Published on February 17, 2011

The top management of Air India will also have some explaining to do, the recently appointed Minister for Civil Aviation, Mr Vayalar Ravi, said, adding that he intended to look into the performance of the management as well.

The Minister also indicated that the approach to the turnaround of the national carrier will be different from the past.

“Apart from the workers, that's a different issue, but the management also, definitely we will look into it in what way we can improve the performance,” said Mr Ravi, on Thursday, after completing the second day of discussions with employee unions of the national carrier.

After Mr Ravi passed the orders to sack the controversial Air India Express' Chief Operating Officer Captain Pawan Arora last week, and with the Chief of Training Capt Stephan Sukumar facing trouble with the approval of his appointment - speculation has been rife if there could be more changes in the top brass. The Minister, however, refused to comment on whether there could indeed be a re-jig in the top management.

The two appointments had come under scrutiny late last year for a number of reasons including the large salary package, despite the airline reporting a loss of Rs 5,551 crore in 2009-10. There were also allegations that the airline had not followed the right procedure while going in for these appointments.

On the issue of independent directors and their role in the company, he said, that they were all “eminent people from their fields” appointed by the PMO (Prime Minister Office) and the carrier will derive “all benefits from their expertise”. However, he indicated that the discussions held with the unions will be separate from what he discusses with the directors.

The Minister also said that problems of parity in salaries of erstwhile Air India and Indian Airlines employees, standstill on promotions and the merger (between erstwhile Air India and Indian Airlines) were some of the issues raised by the employees.

“I promised them I will look into all this and their grievances regarding parity in salaries, scale etc… Different unions have different issues so I have decided to look into it and evolve some kind of methodology. We told them also we are thinking of a different way so we will do what we can so that maximum satisfaction comes to them (employees),” he said.

Mr Ravi also said the Ministry could also look at a “third party involvement” to resolve these issues. He did not elaborate on what the third party could be.

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Published on February 17, 2011
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