Air India chief puts onus of reviving airline on employees

01 Jan 2018


Air India, done down by years of mismanagement and deletrious government decisioins, now wants employees to make amends and put the national carrier on the revival path.

In a New Year message to employees, Air India chairman and managing director Pradeep Singh Kharola said, ''We have to perform if we do not want to perish.''

Kharola, who has just taken over as chairman and managing director of the disinvestment-bound national carrier,  said the onus of steering the airline out of turbulence lies on all stakeholders.

Air India, he said, has to improve in on-time- performance, load factor and cleanliness among other parameters in order to beat competition, even as he avoided any talk of Air India's future plans.

While acknowledging workers' contribution in stabilising Air India's operations, Kharola said, ''we have to stay focused and deliver,'' adding, "We have to adopt a professional and productive work culture which will hold the key for our turnaround.''

''But still, we have miles to go,'' the CMD stated in his New Year message.

Kharola also urged employees to cast aside all deterrents and move full steam ahead to reap the immense potential that the industry offers. ''The onus is on us to steer our company out of turbulence into clear skies again with singleminded determination and grit.

"We must aim to improve our performance in every sphere to match up to industry benchmarks, he said. Air India has been launching new flights on domestic and international routes, initiating innovative schemes and upgrading its fleet to become more vibrant and win passenger confidence,'' he said.

"I implore all of you to sustain this effort to resurrect the pride and glory of the airline. We have to perform if we do not want to perish,'' Kharola said.

With cumulative debt of Rs52,000 crore, the national carrier has been losing market share to low-cost private carriers such as Indigo.

With mounting expenses on servicing debt, Air India, has been working on the modalities for strategic divestment after the union cabinet's approval in June.

While the airline has a large fleet and flying rights on lucrative international destinations, the accumulated losses and huge debt is posing a major hurdle in attracting buyers. The government fears that under present conditions Air India will go private airline Kingfisher Airlines'way.

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