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Air India Corruption Cesspool should be just Shut Down as Politicians greedily milk the Airline Cow and Prevent Privatization

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Air India which is India’s government owned  airline is a cesspool of corruption,sloth,mismanagement and inefficiency.Most of the the aircraft  are worse than the second class cabins in Indian trains with cobwebs hanging and dirt piled around.The air hostesses are rude and hostile and over aged as well.The airline has one of the highest manpower to aircraft ratio in the world with more than 200 per aircraft.The airline routinely loses thousands of crores each year which is wasted on the employees who seem more like arrogant owners than workers.Government officials and politicians treat the airline as their personal property making passengers wait in case they are late.Note its not uncommon to find that the seats are torn up and dirty.If you are unlucky you might even find rats running on your feet as the dirtiness invites rodents to make Air India their home.While all airlines have faced tough years,even the worse private airline does not have rats running through them.

Air India Losses Plane Mess

THREE YEARS ago, on March 19, 2007, Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Praful Patel announced his mega plan of being a game changer in the Indian skies by merging the state-owned Indian Airlines (then a profitable venture) and the perennially lossmaking Air India. But last week — ironically on the same date — a parliamentary panel declared the merger a big failure, saying it had only messed the state carriers. It added that it would be difficult to sustain the controlling company NACIL (National Aviation Company of India Limited).

Air India losses pegged at Rs 13,300cr

National carrier Air India has incurred a cumulative loss of over Rs 13,300 crore since its merger with Indian Airlines in 2007, Rajya Sabha was informed today, reports PTI.”The cumulative losses at the close of financial year 2009-10 were Rs 13,326.86 crore,” Ravi said.

At Air India, Losses, Rats and a Brawl in the Sky

The struggling government-owned carrier’s already uneven reputation has been further tarnished in recent months by rats on a plane, a strike by senior pilots and a midair fistfight between pilots and flight attendants. In September, a flight to Riyadh was grounded after a passenger saw sparks coming from an engine.

The embarrassing chain of events and the airline’s dire financial situation — it is expected to lose more than $1 billion in the current business year, and the government tentatively pledged about $1.1 billion in bailout money to it recently — has prompted many to ask: Why is the Indian government still running an airline?

Many analysts say government ownership is a root cause of Air India’s most pressing problems. In 2007, for instance, the government forced the airline into a poorly conceived merger with Indian Airlines, which was also state-owned. Politicians have influenced the company’s dealings with labor unions, leaving the airline with a much bigger and better-paid staff of 31,000 than it can afford.

Employees, too, say Air India is rudderless.

“We feel like an orphan. Every three years we get a new mother and a new father,” said Capt. Shailendra Singh, president of the Indian Commercial Pilots Association. He said he had repeatedly asked government officials and the newest managing director, Arvind Jadhav, “What is your plan?” So far, Captain Singh said, “They cannot come up with one.”

Air India abused and miked by corrupt arrogant government officials

You can routinely see senior bureaucrats being driven in cars to the aircraft instead of the normal buses.They are given favored seats and allowed excess baggage free.In my recent trip,I was surprised to see a senior judge of the court sending 5 suitcases for free in the aircraft.It was checked in with the normal passengers even when the judge was not traveling himself.The abuse of Air India is widespread amongst Indian government officials that’s why no action has been taken to restructure the airline despite massive losses.It is a private cash cow for the corrupt Indian babudom and a single trip on the airline will bring this fact to any passenger.I can only guess on how much bribe money changes hands for contracts and dealings with Air India.The airline provides some essential functions like connection to remote areas in India which do not have commercial links,however it would be much cheaper to pay private airlines to make these connections rather continue to run this corruption cesspool.

AI to go lightweight, shift staff

At present, Air India has 32,000 employees and operates 133 aircraft. This means an employee to aircraft ratio of 240.

Airline Employee/aircraft
Air India 240-184*
British Airways 178
Singapore Airlines 161
Malaysian Airlines 230
Virgin Atlantic 282
Jet Airways 150

Employees have cushy secure jobs and strike whenever they like

The services are pathetic with routine striking by the employees of Air India.Recently pilots went on a strike demading higher pay causing huge amount of trouble for the passengers.Note pilots are quite heavily compensated for their services and have privileges like free tickets for family and in-laws.However not satisfied with this,they want more money.Its time to shut down Air India and let these employees fend for themselves in the private markets .If their pay was so bad why don’t these pilots move to private airlines.The pay is equally good and the market is booming out there.But in that case they would lose their secure cushy jobs.

Probe corruption in Air India: Striking pilots

“The management has been lying about Air India losses. It is only corruption inside Air India and no losses. There should be a CBI probe into it. The management has held back our arrears for over three years now. The 800 pilots refuse to take orders from the Chairman of Air India,” said Captain Bhalla in New Delhi on Thursday, the second day of the strike by Air India pilots.Air India management has already hit back at the striking pilots sacking eight of them and suspending four.


Abhishek Shah

3 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. maheep

    agree with your point on AI being overstaffed with plushy jobs. Govt too should let go of it and privatize it. Indian Air Force can meet the needs our diplomatic travels.
    but disagree on state of AI fleet. AI has new planes plying on most of the routes and these are cleanest and best planes i have seen in India. Air-hostesses are not rude as it was envisioned earlier. And the food is the best compared to Jet and Kingfisher (others do not provide any food). cobwebs and rats

  2. Abhishek Shah

    Maheep it seems you have been lucky to fly in their newer aircraft.I have flown on Air India aircraft the last year which have all these attributes such as dirt and cobwebs.I also agree that not all the staff is rude but some are,its just a case of your good (bad) luck

  3. Dpoddar

    I liked your narration. Its true to the fact. I travelled this year in indian airlines from Kolkata to Hongkong and had a flight from there to Auckland. Because of the pilot micommunication. I missed my connecting flight to hongkong and sadly i lost the flights thereafter. It was a nightmare for me. I have promised that i will never fly AI in my life. There is no help from the helpdesk. Most of them (employes) are rude and noncoperative. My sugession is never try to save money by flying AI/IA.