AI COO Gustav Baldauf exits

Gustav BaldaufNew Delhi: Embattled flag carrier Air India's chief operating officer, Gustav Baldauf, resigned on Monday after attracting  disfavour from authorities for his outspoken comments on issues related to appointment of senior officers within the organisation.

Baldauf was hired last year at an annual package of over Rs3 crore.

His own appointment, as well as those appointed by him, such as AI Express's COO Pawan Arora and its chief of operations Stefan Sukumar, were the cause of some resentment within the airline, perhaps because of the handsome pay packages that they had received.

While Arora and Sukumar made their exit earlier on, the aviation ministry issued Baldauf a show-cause notice last week over his widely-quoted remarks that the government was interfering in running the airline.

An AI spokesperson has now confirmed Baldauf's resignation.

Baldauf had brought in Arora and Sukumar, after being appointed AI COO last year.

AI-domestic is now ranked fourth in market share behind Jet, Kingfisher and IndiGo. Low-cost carrier SpiceJet is sniffing at AI-domestic's heels and the may well relegate it to the fifth position in the coming months.