I am saddened that Mangalore crash has been politicised

Adopting a tough stand against what he called “illegal and irresponsible” action by Air India employees, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said on Wednesday the airline was free to take “firm, appropriate, decisive and strong measures” to restore normality.

“The management is free to take all appropriate action, and I am sure they are going to adequately respond. The management needs to act adequately and firmly,” he told journalists after a meeting with Civil Aviation Secretary M. Madhavan Nambiar and Air India Chairman-cum-Managing Director Arvind Jadhav.

At a time when the carrier was struggling to cope with the Mangalore crash, Mr. Patel said, the employees should have done their best to resurrect its image and brand. “How can any company or management function without cooperation of employees? I am saddened that such a tragedy, instead of getting the sympathy of employees for the relatives of the deceased, has been politicised to this level. The flash strike disrupted flights and caused inconvenience to a large number of people during the holiday season.”

Mr. Patel pointed out that an Air India flight, diverted to Mangalore and carrying relatives of the victims of the crash, coffins and other materials, was, certified, with DGCA approval, by a Kingfisher engineer instead of an Air India engineer. “Instead of showing solidarity with the airline at the time of crisis, the engineers made an issue of it. The management only pointed out that employees should not rush to speak in public at such times of crisis.”