The move to promote officers of the erstwhile Indian Airlines, ignoring the claims of those in Air India (to which Indian Airlines merged in 2011), could trigger fresh trouble within Air India, the beleaguered national carrier.

The decision to promote personnel of IA, irrespective of their service and qualification allegedly, had been taken on the basis of the recommendation of the Implementation and Anomaly Rectification Committee set up by the Civil Aviation Ministry to implement the D.M. Dharmadhikari report. The Dharmadhikari panel was formed to integrate employees of the two airlines after the merger.

Sources in the airline management in Mumbai told The Hindu that the decision could lead to unprecedented legal battles, affect the morale of AI staff, and create division among employees. In the officer grade alone, 2,000 employees of AI, including station managers, airport managers, deputy managers and assistant managers, would be affected.

The Dharmadhikari committee had recommended that promotions should be in conformity with the principles of seniority and service in the Corporate Management Cadre, which accommodates the top officials in Air India.

However, sources said, the management was not keen on continuing this cadre, following suggestions from the anomaly rectification committee. This committee, headed by Syed Nasir Ali, Director, OSD, Air India, had met in New Delhi for three days from July 9 before making the recommendations. The panel had looked into issues related to pay/wage rationalisation and restructuring.