It is the top management that is responsible for the running of Air India. It failed to perform all these years. Suddenly, it woke up and decided to cut the incentives and allowances of the executive pilots. It is not clear why discussions and a joint decision with the staff did not precede the decision. Only recently, we were witness to the attitude of the Jet Airways management which was willing to lose crores but was not willing to tolerate a union formed by pilots. Such attitudes show airlines in a poor light. The pilots are responsible for the lives of passengers and therefore their mental wellbeing is crucial. They deserve to be heard before any decision is taken.
It is not the pilots alone who are responsible for the state of affairs in Air India. Its management and the government, which lacks a coherent airline policy, are equally to blame.
The only long-term solution to the crisis is to privatise Air India because for too long, crores have been spent on keeping it afloat. As a U.K.-based NRI, I flew Air India frequently in the 1960s and the 1970s. I gradually gave it up because of the regular delay in flights (for which the airline never apologised), the unfriendly and unsmiling cabin staff and, above all, unclean toilets.
M. Riaz Hasan,
Air India, kept afloat by the government, is being pushed into a deeper financial quagmire by the pilots’ strike. It may end up losing more than it intended to save by cutting the allowances of the executive pilots. This is a classic example of bad financial management.