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If Air India Was To Be Privatised  
User currently offlineAmmunition From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2002, 1065 posts, RR: 4
Posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 5438 times:

If air india would be privatised and the oldies were gotten rid off (the employment laws relaxed wrt the massive number of employees air india has per aircraft), do you think it could compete with the likes of EK, SQ, BA e.t.c after a few years.

Whats your opinion on the route structure and fleet they should have?
And possible alliance partner?

regards
Amo.... living in a dream world.


Saint Augustine- 'The world is a book and those who do not travel, read only 1 page'
28 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineAmmunition From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2002, 1065 posts, RR: 4
Reply 1, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 5391 times:

I think they could well have a fleet similar to that of EK and SQ and compete heavily with IC, which would be forced into low cost carrier status.
India is ideally positioned as a transit point between europe-south east asia, and a good stop off point for europe-oz flights. The airports in india are probably not as good as the competition, bangkok, singapore e.t.c, and could be a factor which travellers take into consideration.




Saint Augustine- 'The world is a book and those who do not travel, read only 1 page'
User currently offlineDonder10 From Canada, joined Oct 2001, 6659 posts, RR: 22
Reply 2, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 5399 times:

Every airport in Asia is now aiming to be a transit point between Europe and SE Asia/Oz!

User currently offlineBehramjee From Canada, joined Aug 2003, 4745 posts, RR: 44
Reply 3, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 5335 times:

First of all, AI would never compete with IC on domestic routes...it will coordinate with its little sister and both airlines will continue feeding each other passengers from Intl and Domestic flights.

Secondly, what first needs to be done is to upgrade BOM-DEL-CCU-BLR-MAA airports to a 4 star level at least as their overall standard is pathetic compared to others in the region. Right now PAKs LHE and KHI have the best and most modern airports in the Indian Subcontinent...LHEs new airport was inauguarated last winter and KHI was in 1993-94 period.

Indian airports have to be transit friendly as AI has the potential to pick up a lot of transit pax. Another thing they have to do is to reduce the # of their employeess...there are too too many of them.

Lastly, if they get privatized, they should install PTVs in all their B 744s even in eco class as well as in their upcoming 10 new A 343s. They need to make cabin crew clean the toilets more often (like half an hour-45 mins into a flight), make sure that customer complaints-suggestions are taken seriously, there are no drastic levels of over bookings on popular Intl flights to LHR and USA during the peak seasons and also they should learn to make quick decisions rather than wait for 2-3 sometimes 5-6 years to decide on simple matters.




User currently offlineMog From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 5304 times:

The most efficient intermodal mover in India is Container Corporation of India, Ltd., started as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Government of India, recently some amount of shares were sold to the public, but it still stays in Government hands. It has the world's largest shipping companies falling in line on freight rates and terms of carriage favourable to us in India.

The most efficient automobile manufacturer in India is Maruti Udyog Ltd., which used to be a Government company in collaboration with Suzuki of Japan. The Government just sold its share for a massive profit. MUL controls about 66% of the car market in India.

The Indian Railways move almost 16 million people per day. Their passenger ticket reservation system sets the benchmark for databases worldwide. Their internet website for sale of railway tickets is the biggest in South Asia, and heading towards being the biggest in Asia. 100% owned by Indian Government.

Government ownership, increasingly, comes with a higher level of customer service and transparency in India, than does private enterprise. Telecom in India is one other example that comes to mind where privatisation = bad consumer service, while at the same time jerking costs down.

Air India and Indian Airlines, their problems don't begin and end with Government ownership. Nor are their responsbilities purely private.

A large portion of the blame for the state these two airlines find themselves in lies with the rather hazy state of affairs with employees in these two airlines. IMHO, once this gets sorted out, with attrition of existing employees and reduction of nepotism in hereditary employment, is when these two airlines will start moving back, till then we can all blame the politicians?

Interim, private airlines in India provide the required catalyst for dynamic evolution. The real litmus test is not whether politicians mess up AI/IC or not. The real one is, please notice, how a totally new generation of Indians adept in the airline service industry is springing up, independent of AI/IC existing employees nepotism!


User currently offlineVimanav From India, joined Jul 2003, 1515 posts, RR: 14
Reply 5, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 5267 times:

Dear Mog

I think your comparison of AI/IC with other Govt owned enterprises in India are probably not fair.

The most efficient intermodal mover in India is Container Corporation of India, Ltd
Container Corp - I cannot comment as I do not know much about it.

The most efficient automobile manufacturer in India is Maruti Udyog Ltd., which used to be a Government company in collaboration with Suzuki of Japan. The Government just sold its share for a massive profit. MUL controls about 66% of the car market in India.
Maruti Udyog - Their success is thanks to the terrific headstart that they got whereby they were able to position the M800 as the people's car replacing the Amby since 1982-83. Maruti's great success is to a great part attributable to their easy availability of spares almost at every town or village in India which still cannot be matched by others. Moreover their long association with Suzuki is also greatly responsible for their distinctly better work culture.

The Indian Railways move almost 16 million people per day. Their passenger ticket reservation system sets the benchmark for databases worldwide. Their internet website for sale of railway tickets is the biggest in South Asia, and heading towards being the biggest in Asia. 100% owned by Indian Government.
Indian Railways - truly a symbol of the evils of the Governmental system. Just being big and having huge databases does not automatically mean they have to be a successful corporation. They remind me of the Indian version of Aeroflot on tracks.

A large portion of the blame for the state these two airlines find themselves in lies with the rather hazy state of affairs with employees in these two airlines.
Who created this situation ? The Government, which during the 50s and 60s were still caught up in the Nehruvian concept that the primary aim of any enterprise is to provide employment to the masses. This worked a while before the 'm' in masses got smudged and AI and IC took on asses en masse - each coming with high recommendations from somebody in power or qualified by being a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe. It is the Government which forgot that the national airline as the face of the country internationally is the defacto ambassador of the nation and should be manned by the best of the best. Having sloppy folks, affiliated to boorish political parties and chewing paan on duty irrespective of whether they are loaders, traffic staff, technicians or cabin crew is no way to promote your country's national carrier.

However I daresay, for every member of this brigade, AI and to some extent IC have people who wore their logos with immense pride. Okay, JRD was a legend, but what of people like Bobby Kooka and others like him ? Like I mentioned in an earlier post, AI Building at Nariman Point still has some of the best aviation brains in the world... only they are too much of a minority.

My belief as far as AI & IC go is firm - Government of India, lay off !!! Bureaucrats lay off !!! and above all, Ministers F.O. !!!

rgds//Vimanav



Sarfaroshi kii tamannaa ab hamaare dil mein hai, Dekhnaa hai zor kitnaa baazu-e-qaatil mein hai
User currently offlineKaitak From Ireland, joined Aug 1999, 12400 posts, RR: 37
Reply 6, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 5254 times:

That's one of the reasons, I think, SIA pulled out of negotiations a few years back, to buy into AI. It must have become increasingly clear that the govt just could not leave its hands off AI. Look at the recent fleet deal; how long did it take to reach this decision? Years, literally. I remember talk of this back in the mid 1990s. That's simply unsustainable in the modern aviation world.

No less a person than the CEO of Emirates has said that if AI (and Indian aviation generally) were released from so much bureaucracy, the airliner could be one of Asia's biggest. The problem is that you have thousands of civil servants fighting to make their jobs seem worthwhile, which is just adding new levels of bureaucracy and delay to the whole process.


User currently offlineIndianguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 4 days ago) and read 5226 times:

Lets Face it, privatisation is just not going to happen!! And I firmly believe that India NEEDS airlines atleast partly owned by the Govt.

However what we need are formalised procedures to ensure that professionals get to run the airlines without interference from Babus of the Gowshala category.

It has been done before. The Navratna policy of the previous Narasimha Rao Govt gave full autonomy for Nine of the top performing PSU's in various sectors. VSNL, BSNL and oNGC all ended up much better off than other PSU's.

The same experiment will have to repeated with AI/IC. We dont need privatisation. We need autonomy.


User currently offlineBobrayner From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2003, 2227 posts, RR: 7
Reply 8, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 5178 times:

Lets Face it, privatisation is just not going to happen!! And I firmly believe that India NEEDS airlines atleast partly owned by the Govt.

Why? To provide safe jobs and prevent any uncomfortable changes in the industry?

The Indian Railways move almost 16 million people per day... 100% owned by Indian Government.

For reference, how many staff do they employ per passenger km?

However what we need are formalised procedures to ensure that professionals get to run the airlines without interference from Babus of the Gowshala category.

Yes! More formalised procedures will help solve the industry's crippling inflexibility!



Cunning linguist
User currently offlineIndianguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 5133 times:


Yes! More formalised procedures will help solve the industry's crippling inflexibility!

Formalised procedures to PREVENT babus from interfering in the day to day affairs of the airlines. The keyword is AUTONOMY here and allowing the AI management to run the airline professionally without interference in day to day matters. I firmly believe that one of the MAIN CAUSES of the trouble is that babus take advantage of a lack of firmly laid down procedures to put roadblocks in the way of the airlines handicapping both the state owned carriers.

The airline should not be privatised overnight as that way would be disaster. It should be a gradual process, and I beleive that what the Rao govt had done with VSNL and BSNL serves as an ideal model for both AI and IC. First evolve procedures for transferring full autonomy to these PSU's (as well as Pawan Hans, the state owned Chopper airline) on the lines of the Congress's "Navratna" scheme. Once the PSU's have professionalised their management and work culture and bought it on par to intl standards, then we can start the privatisation process. THAT is the way to go about it.

However this Govt seems intent on stripping AI/IC of whatever assets they have and selling it off to the lowest bidder (or who bribes the minister the most). That is hardly the way to go.


Why? To provide safe jobs and prevent any uncomfortable changes in the industry?

IC provides DAILY jet service linking the Capital of the country to Capitals of each of the 25 states. These flights are subsidised by the Govt and play a vital role in keepign the country together. Many stations in the underdeveloped North East are connected by IC which is the only option around a place where Air Travel is possibly the only sane option. Private carriers operate to only a few of these destinations.

On another note, remember when India decided to evacuate its citizens from the Gulf when GWB Sr decided to unleash the first wave of madness on the world? AI conducted the worlds largest known airlift and flew back over 1.2 lakh indians to safety. IC and IAF also pitched in. Which private carrier would do that?

During the Kargil war, IC was flying soldiers back and forth from the front. Again which private carrier would do that? Heck if your relative happens to be ill, IC will gladly remove the last row of seats to accomodate a stretcher and even provides for Doctors at no extra charge! Lets not udnerestimat the importance of this service, especially on the flights to the Isalnds of the Andamans from the mainland. 9W refuses point blank as they say it "interferes with service".

So i feel there IS a role that stateowned carriers can play in India. What is more important is making the work culture more professional. And they are getting ther: Autonomy or not! But providing more autonomy will help in the process.

-Roy
Profits are important, but IC also plays a much larger role.


User currently offlineMog From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 5091 times:

We are all seeing the effects of blind privatisation in, for example, the power industry in the US.

Privatisation as a means to spur competition, by all means.

Privatisation as a means to cure all ills, well, got to think very carefully on that one. Very often, privatisation is simply another word for asset stripping and nepotism.

As for the Public Sector units in India quoted by me, specially the Indian Railways, I would once again ask readers and interacters on this board to consider the efficiency of the system from the point of view of goods movement, passenger movement, computerisation, ecommerce . . . and match it against the costs payable. There is always a trade-off.

Air India's ills have little to do with the Government of India, and more to do with the employee unions, and that is a truth nobody wants to admit.


User currently offlineSM777 From India, joined Nov 2003, 132 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 5086 times:

On another note, remember when India decided to evacuate its citizens from the Gulf when GWB Sr decided to unleash the first wave of madness on the world? AI conducted the worlds largest known airlift and flew back over 1.2 lakh indians to safety. IC and IAF also pitched in. Which private carrier would do that?

During the Kargil war, IC was flying soldiers back and forth from the front. Again which private carrier would do that? Heck if your relative happens to be ill, IC will gladly remove the last row of seats to accomodate a stretcher and even provides for Doctors at no extra charge! Lets not udnerestimat the importance of this service, especially on the flights to the Isalnds of the Andamans from the mainland. 9W refuses point blank as they say it "interferes with service".


Roy, some comments on your remarks above -

1. While the AI airlift would have created history of sorts, AI did not do it out of the 'goodness of their heart'.......the GoI would have ordered them to do it. Possibly AI was also paid by the GoI for each flight - I am sure the staff of AI did not do it gratis.

2. Kargil - ditto. IC did what the GoI ordered them to do. The staff on these flights got paid for their work and did not forego their pay for the 'sake of the country', and IC would have also got paid on a cost basis for the flights they operated, for sure.

The solution to such needs is simple : hire out aircraft. The US Govt themselves do it. I have seen newsclips of US soldiers getting down from hired commercial aircraft in the Gulf, which ferried them from the US. Just like AI and IC aircraft were used for these 'humanitarian' gestures, if private airlines have aircraft available, they will also deploy them if their costs are taken care of. I would also like to draw your attention to the fact that Jet Airways is associated with 'Save the Children', and has collected a few million Rs. to contribute towards this cause. Maybe it's not like bringing soldiers home from Kargil, but it sure is a worthy social cause.

The above apart, the topic here is the privatization of Air India. My humble submission is : don't look too far - look how AirLanka (now Srilankan) has grown and prospered since 1998 (when EK took 40%).....despite losing almost half it's fleet in Mr Prabhakaran's attack at CMB, they are now flying high and have also embarked on an aggressive fleet expansion plan, apart from adding several new destinations on their network.

If a small country like Sri Lanka can produce a world-class airline, why the hell can't we ??

In any case airlines and railways are not meant for social work or charity but should be run as professional private organisations, and should make money. If the Govt of India needs aircraft to airlift people, they should first use the IAF's IL76s and if these fall short, they should hire aircraft from whichever sources have them available.

The faster AI is privatized, the quicker the airline will shed its fat, buy new aircraft, use rights which it is currently not using and will provide the much needed competition to airlines flying out of India. Air India should and must be the first choice of Indians flying out of India, at the very least. Today, it is probably the last option for most people and the only reason most people fly AI is because it's cheaper.


User currently offlineVimanav From India, joined Jul 2003, 1515 posts, RR: 14
Reply 12, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 5082 times:

SM777..

You have just beaten me to it. Roj on the points regarding the Gulf War airlift and the Kargil airlift. This was no goodness of heart but government directives to AI and IC. Just FYI 9W also operated a couple of such flights. Ideally like the US Government, our Govt too should look at hiring aircraft from airlines or from outside or have a military reserve clause in the permissions granted to all Indian carriers.

rgds//Vimanav



Sarfaroshi kii tamannaa ab hamaare dil mein hai, Dekhnaa hai zor kitnaa baazu-e-qaatil mein hai
User currently offlineMohan From India, joined Nov 2003, 78 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 5092 times:

If Air India Was To Be Privatised.............I would BID for it............if i get it then:

1. Offer VRS
2. Cancel this new dumb order.- Order Better planes
3. Restructure the fleet, routes........
4. Launch a new f & j class & economy too
5. change the livery
6. Create two hubs for now later three
7. Will feed Jet Airways too & use them to feed me for premium pax
8. RECRUIT SMARTER YOUNGER PEOPLE-FRESH FACES AT ALL FRONT JOBS

I could go on.......

Its a strong possibility that Air India will be privatized in the near future.......probably after the genral elections in 2004

SQ pulled out because they had picked up Virgin then, Air New Zealand was troubling them.......Ansett was about to go at that time so they were not sure....Also the TATA's were getting jittery and SQ was only allowed to invest i think 20 % they wanted a larger chunk

Any way what ever happens happens for good............ I will get it soon

















User currently offlineMog From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 5067 times:

Hi Vimanav . . . and others.

It is so easy for us to blame the politicians/civil servants alone for all the ills we face in India today. I am not holding a brief for politicians, but nor am I going to be the typical wannabe WOG apologist I find in decreasing numbers anymore.

Remember, it is the same politicians who also managed to give us world class products like Jet Airways and Air Sahara. So grant them some intelligence to, in covering all bases, after all, we've also had Damania, East-West, NEPC, ModiLuft . . . vanish. I don't even want to talk about privatisation stars like Enron and Arthur Andersen for now.

The ills facing Air India today are as much a result of employee union issues as they are of political/civil servant interference. Let me put it this way, do we want to use this forum to discuss nepotism amongst existing employees (is AI hereditary in jobs due to employees or politicos?), obstructionist tactics by cabin crew for example onboard credit card transactions (did this happen because of politicians?), resisting fitness standards for employees (hmm, more political interference, I see)?

Air India is amongst the few airlines left where flight crew and other employees still get to use taxies for pick-up/drop from cityside hotels at places like London/JFK, while I am sure you have seen flight crew and employees, even Captains, using the tube or airport neighbourhood hotel buses elsewhere (yet more political blah, right?). Scheduling at Air India with aircraft flying around is absolutely thanks to employee roster issues, but no, we find it easier to blame only the sarkar, right?

And of course, the biggest of them all, the BOM hub only kind of problem is totally due to employee unions. Thats also more politicians, right?

As against this, we get juvenile suggestions about IFE sets as the cure for all ills. Sit economy in Air India, and appreciate the extra space due to abscence of tv-monitor/box under seat, is another view, which I've heard from regular Economy Class travellers, too.

To anybody with foresight, it is plain as plane that Air India and Indian Airlines employees need to get their own house in order, otherwise there are more than enough small private airlines and even more than that, a vast pool of Indians working with the aviation industry worldwide who will pop right in when the skies are privatised some more.

So go one step further, and think about large scale privatisation of the skies, and credit the country's rulers with some foresight. Why flog a dying horse?





User currently offlineVimanav From India, joined Jul 2003, 1515 posts, RR: 14
Reply 15, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 5062 times:

Hi Mog...

I think we have a chicken and egg situation here. My argument is who made these employees the current pain in the butt that they are - it was the wave upon wave of 'sarkars' who kept pumping in their favourites into the ranks of IC and AI. Merit has been the lowest criteria for consideration. AI's militant unions especially in BOM are a direct result of the support given by a political party in Maharashtra (I am not taking names but samajhdar ko ishara kaafi hai!).

Enron and Arthur Andersen stick out like sore thumbs and make headlines but in an open economy like USA you have to expect some bad apples. The very points that you cite about crew using taxis and other areas of expense are basically symptomatic of the problem created by not moving with the times which in other words translates to a few who are in power wanting to hold on and continuing to enjoy their fruits even though a new order stands at the threshold waiting to be heard. This has all the trappings of a revolution in the making. Today, the Govt and its servants need AI and IC in order to maintain a certain lifestyle whose time is obviously over. From the desperate attempts that I see from them to hold onto power, it is obvious that they are fighting a losing battle against a new order struggling to demystify aviation and open it to the millions of Indians for whom it still remains a dream.

The Government has to give in... the old order will have to change, giving way to the new (now where have I heard that before ???)

rgds



Sarfaroshi kii tamannaa ab hamaare dil mein hai, Dekhnaa hai zor kitnaa baazu-e-qaatil mein hai
User currently offlineMog From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 5055 times:

So why privatise Air India or Indian Airlines, then? Let them sputter along, let them use more seats in First and Business Class for their own staff and the collection of hanger ons . . . and then collapse. Interim, build up strengths in the private airline industry as well as large numbers of desis working in the aviation industry worldwide . . . and then co-opt them into things.

Happened before, happens all the time. Check out:-

a) mail - Posts & Telegraph vis-a-vis Blue Dart and others.
b) electronic media - AIR/DD vis-a-vis NDTV, Zee, Sahara, Aaj Tak.
c) armed forces - Indian presence in UN rent-a-force at #1.
d) sea transportation - the private fleets are about thrice the size of the government.
e) oil exploration - ONGC versus Essar, Reliance, foreign companies.
f) land transportation - Indian Railways and now we have ConCor, trucks on board railway wagons and the option to charter trains.
g) And most of all, that shining star, infotech. Let me tell you, we still have legally to file copies of code with ET&T who are IndGovt and we still have rules that say that every contract with a foreign company needs to be listed with our Embassy abroad in the relevant country BUT what did the infotech industry do, they just went ahead and became global as well as domestic.

You see where its going? Why waste effort privatising, because all the new guy will do will be to borrow money from the market with sovereign guarwantees from the Government. Let effort as well as some smart thinking flow into higher privatisation.

ALl it will need, eventually, is a bill to nationalise it, if it becomes any sort of issue.


User currently offlineIndianguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 4987 times:

wrt the Kargil airlift and the one during the Gulf War: No I dont suggest it was done "out of the goodness of the heart" or anytning like that!

But you cannot deny that a Private carrier would not show the same flexibility in handing over aircraft to the Govt for a national cause as would IC/AI. Also wrt hriing out aircrasft like the US Govt does: It remains to be seen whether such aircraft would be available to the Govt Of India with the same ease as they are to the US Govt! The Indian Govt has nowhere the kind fo resources that the US Govt has and nor does the Indian aviaiton market have the same number of 747's flying around to be availbale at short notice. So the case is different and needs a different solution.

I think the solution worked out by AI for the VIP aircraft, while not perfect is the best fit in the current situation. The Govt pays a fixed sum and is assured of a minimum availablity on AI's part. AI for its part can provide for a certain minimum for VIP work without affecting its schedules, which is after all the main problem!

The point regarding servicing of the smaller stations still stands.

-Roy


User currently offlineMog From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 4963 times:

Hi Roy . . . with alll respects to your seniority here and your RR, I would just like to point out that nationalism is not a virtue which is the monopoly of the public sector. Indian flag aircraft, ships, trucks . . . the works, whether private or government owned, are eventually responsible to the Sovereign and I cannot say more than point at the way the private Indian shipping and road transportation fleets have responded and continue to respond. Leave alone the way new-generation private sector takes on social responsibilities in India nowadays, mininmal fuss maximum impact.

I mean, if the private sector in India can take on the responsibility of maintaining defence vehicles on the frontlines, what more are you asking for? Do I as a private sector person have to keep re-proving my loyalty to the nation, all the time? I don't think so.

The moot point here is whether privatisation per se will solve all the problems that Air India faces, and my answer is "no". The main burden that Air India carries is a bunch of renegade employees, to put it mildly, most with their own vested interests and axes to grind. The same Air India employees demanding freedom from democratically elected government representatives and civil servants, (good or bad is another question) would be better advised to first agree to private sector terms and conditions of employment, or keep their peace till they retire.



User currently offlineB747-437B From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 4955 times:

The ills facing Air India today are as much a result of employee union issues as they are of political/civil servant interference

It should be noted that virtually all the unions at Air India are controlled by the Shiv Sena, meaning that unions and politics are unfortunately too closely associated.

I'll take a stab at clarifying some of the issues raised here later today. I'm still a bit jetlagged after arriving in Mumbai's heat a few hours ago from the freezing tundra of Canada.


User currently offlineMog From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 4934 times:

Unions are controlled by the Shiv Sena? And how/why would those who form the Union, permit themselves to be "controlled"? What a joke, if it weren't cruel, or anti-national. And then we blame "politicians" in India?

I mean, did the political parties decide that all staff, including cockpit/cabin, are to be treated as "workers", thus getting people earning more than anybody else in the country to be treated as "workers"?



User currently offlineSM777 From India, joined Nov 2003, 132 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 4931 times:


Hi Mog, Indianguy, Vimanav et al

Today's headlines scream of reform in the Aviation sector - reduction in IATT, privatization of AI, FDI in pvt carriers etc....all tonic for a great revival of the sector.

Hopefully our BJP-NDA govt with a sensible Civil Aviation Minister in Rajiv Pratap Rudy will take the recommendations seriously and begin implementing them ASAP.

Mog - about the Shiv Sena - I am not sure if you live in Bombay (now Mumbai, unfortunately) but if you did, you would know that despite which Govt is in power, the SS rules the state with their hooligans calling the shots whenever "goondagiri" is required. Try and oppose them and see what happens. They are such b*stards that they even destroyed the Singhania Hospital in Thane when Anand Dighe expired there.....this hospital has since been closed. So when it comes to the AI union, it is "controlled" - completely and severely - with an iron hand.

Vimanav - I entirely agree with your 'privatization' mantra and the 'old order changeth'.......the time has come to free the 'homing pigeons' of Air India and Indian AL from their boxes.




User currently offlineIndianguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 4919 times:



The moot point here is whether privatisation per se will solve all the problems that Air India faces, and my answer is "no".

Absolutely Mog!! The real problems are not with State Ownership. Saying that privatising the airline and going out and buying a whole bunch of Boeing 777's is not going to help if the people running the airline show the same attitudes.

Privatising AI/IC without first establishing a level playing field for all carriers would be disaster. That’s why I suggested Autonomy AS A FIRST STEP towards EVENTUAL privatisation.

Hey Sean: if you are in Mumbai give me a call sometime da! You know my Cell Nos?

-Roy




User currently offlineSM777 From India, joined Nov 2003, 132 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 4908 times:

Hi Indianguy,

I don't understand what you mean by "creating a level playing field"

AI and IC have all the advantages today, whether it is using exclusive terminals (domestic BOM, DEL), international (term 2C at BOM) etc.; or flying international; or getting govt subsidies; or being overstaffed; and so many others.

So........ the level playing field should be created for other (private) airlines not AI and IC.

Privatization will not solve all problems. But it will create an airline which :

1. Can aspire to be like SQ, CX, MH, etc.
2. Can/will have inflight services which "other airlines talk about" aka SQ
3. Can draw upon the resources/expertise of the 49% partner (assuming it is a reputed international airline) for fleet planning, cost cutting, service improvements, route rationalization, livery designing (the old colors/logo are so boring) etc etc
4. Will not be run at the whims and fancies of the Civil Aviation Ministry
5. Will make us proud that it is our country's airline.

At the risk of being repetitive let me again take the example of Sri Lankan Airlines. Air Lanka prior to its privatization 1998 was all that AI is, and more. When Chandrika Kumaratunga decided to put 40% of UL on the block, it was quickly snapped up by EK. Today, just 5 years later, UL is arguably a world class airline. If you haven't flown it, try it. Compare it with Air India, and then write another post in this forum about your experience.

Cheers



User currently offlineB747-437B From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 4909 times:

Unions are controlled by the Shiv Sena? And how/why would those who form the Union, permit themselves to be "controlled"?

If you really need to ask that question, you obviously aren't familiar enough with the Shiv Sena to understand. And thank your lucky stars for that small mercy.

They need to make sure.... there are no drastic levels of over bookings on popular Intl flights to LHR and USA during the peak seasons

With all due respect, the way the India travel market operates this is a pipe dream at best. An oversale profile between 50%-100% in peak season is normal on EVERY airline operating to the subcontinent.

Another thing they have to do is to reduce the # of their employees ...there are too too many of them.

Again, an oversimplified solution to a complex problem. While there is no question that AI has been horribly overstaffed for years, there is an acute shortage of staff in vital operational areas such as pilots, cabin crew, engineers, etc... The airline's immediate growth is currently constrained by this labor SHORTAGE on the operational side. The overstaffing is in the unskilled/menial labor area where everyone from the sweeper to the guy running the employee cafeteria is an AI employee, rather than contractor. However, those folks make such little money that the financial impact of reducing headcount there is negligible. Remember, a pilot makes more on a single BOM-LHR sector than two of those menial labourers do in an entire year.

The staff on these flights got paid for their work and did not forego their pay for the 'sake of the country'

Actually, during the Kargil conflict both AI and IC staff were given "mandatory deductions" from their paychecks amounting to between 5-20% of take-home pay as their contribution towards the costs. Not addressing the motivation or anything, but clarifying the point.

did the political parties decide that all staff, including cockpit/cabin, are to be treated as "workers", thus getting people earning more than anybody else in the country to be treated as "workers"?

No arguments from me there, but unfortunately pilot unions are not an India-only phenomenon by any stretch of imagination. Yes, there needs to be a representative body for every workgroup to ensure that workrules and compensation are fair, but when the process is used to gain almost extortive leverage for one group at the expense of others, the system breaks down.

Air India is amongst the few airlines left where flight crew and other employees still get to use taxies for pick-up/drop from cityside hotels at places like London/JFK

Bullshit.

Air India scrapped the use of taxis at outstations starting in 1971 when the 747s were introduced and it became far more cost-efficient to contract larger buses for the increased number of crew on each flight.

let them use more seats in First and Business Class for their own staff and the collection of hanger ons

Gee, I wish this were true. I'm entitled to Business Class nonrev priviledges on Air India (and before you start ranting about that issue, my dad earned those through 37 years of busting his ass for the airline so don't even begin to go there), but have been stuck in Economy/Jumpseat almost 70% of the time over the last few years - and the rare times I do get up front are usually the shorthaul domestic flights running at some Godforsaken hour of the morning. It's a standing joke among Air India nonrevs that "J" class stands for "Jumpseat", because thats the only way you can get anywhere on your free passages.

The main burden that Air India carries is a bunch of renegade employees, to put it mildly, most with their own vested interests and axes to grind.

You obviously come across as someone with a pre-existing bias against AI employees that seems to cloud your entire judgement of the situation. As the offspring of two former AI employees, I have seen both the good and the bad of things over the last 25+ years dealing with the airline in personal and professional capacities.

One thing that should be stressed is that there are two types of employees at Air India (and this is true of virtually every public sector undertaking). One is the regular joe who is qualified and trained for his job and comes to do an honest days work and the other is the kaamchor who only got his job through "approach" and continues to exist solely by doling out favors to the political patrons who appointed him. There is constantly a conflict between these two groups within the airline, but unfortunately the latter group will always win as long as the airline remains directly controlled by the government. The Michael Mascarenhas saga was a classic example of this, where a qualified and largely decent chief executive who came up through the ranks was suspended from his job on false charges because he refused to give sufficient patronage to his politically connected subordinate, VK Verma.

Mog, you seem to have some sort of axe to grind with the way Air India is run and I don't know what it is. However, as a professional in the airline industry myself (and no, I don't work for Air India in a "hereditary" position) I will give the few decent folks in the airline management credit for fighting an uphill battle in the face of obstacles that most private sector folks can't even dream of. As virtually every other poster here has said, the best thing that could happen to Air India is greater autonomy. Whether this comes via privatisation, via an enlightened minister (sic) or through other means is unimportant. The airline has been heading in the right direction for the last few years and just needs this last vital kickstart for it to once again become globally competitive.


25 Mog : Dear B747-437B . . . please don't get personal with me out in the open . . . please don't assume things about my knowledge on matters Air-India/aviati
26 SM777 : Mog, maybe it's a little unfair to paint all AI employees with the same brush, but I have been several times for meals to an AI senior commander's hou
27 B747-437B : Mog, I am not going to bother replying beyond this post to your little mudslinging session. Whatever mine or my parents background may be (and I have
28 Mog : Dear Mr. B747-437B, a) Whatever I know about you has been gleaned from these interacts on this website. I do not have any resentment against you or yo
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