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
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
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
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.
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada