Staff Reporter

There will be no retrenchment of employees: AI chief

Thiruvananthapuram: The formalities of the merger between Air-India and Indian will take nearly two years to be completed, according to Air-India Chairman and Managing Director V. Thulasidas.

Addressing a press conference here on Sunday night in connection with the completion of two years of operation of Air India Express, Mr. Thulasidas said the legal issues would be completed in June this year but the actual integration of fleet, networking and employees would take at least two years.

He said there would be no retrenchment of employees following the merger. On reports that he would be the managing director of the new company, Mr. Thulasidas said "I too read it in newspapers, but I have no knowledge about it."

MoU with Air Force

Mr. Thulasidas said Air-India had signed a Memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Indian Air Force to rope in pilots retiring from the force to the national carrier. "We faced a shortage

of pilots, especially to operate the Boeing 737-800 aircraft. This has been solved by fresh recruitment from Serbia and Brazil."

The airline had kicked off a drive to recruit students from the campuses and to train them as pilots for AI and its subsidiaries. The airline was also trying for campus recruitment from flying schools to overcome the shortage of pilots and to cater to the needs in the future when more aircraft join the fleet.

Replying to queries, he said the construction of the proposed aircraft maintenance base of AI in the

State capital was under way. "This hangar unit is basically meant for Boeing 737-800 aircraft and we are confident that it will be ready in 18 months."