Air India board likely to discuss staff VRS

New Delhi: At its board meeting scheduled for Tuesday hugely indebted, state-owned carrier Air India is likely to discuss a fresh voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) for its staff. The company's hugely bloated staff strength is the highest in the industry in both absolute and per aircraft terms and perhaps one of the highest in the world.

As a merged entity the carrier pays approximately 36,000-40,000 employees.

According to airline sources the government is willing to provide one-time financial support to such a scheme in a bid to shed excess weight with the pay-out being considered part of equity infusion that the government is committed to make.

The company will formalise the details of the VRS and implement it once it receives the board's consent and government approval.

It is being given to understand that the VRS may be offered to staff other than pilots, engineers and cabin crew.

The company currently foots an annual wage bill of around Rs3,600 crore and  it has already been asked by the empowered Group of Ministers (GoM) looking into restructuring of the airline to implement VRS.