Air India and its never ending woes

Air India has everything it possibly can, except for productivity. Majority of the airline work force are working like typical babus who work from 9 to 5 with more than 180 off days in a year.

The recent cash crush is caused by inefficient management of resources and underling assets that are not utilized. There were question raised on why does not sell 25% of the stake to a Private company so that Air India can clean up the mess.

If any wants to see an example of a world class company that is fully government owned, look for Temasek. It is Singapore Government’s investment company that has around 350 employees and manages assets around US$130 Billion. And it is a multinational. Or look at Singapore Airlines. A Government controlled airline that is now the best airline in the world.

Why can’t National Aviation Company of India pull up their socks and start working? By stopping pay cheques, isn’t touching employee’s loyalty any where? Or just because its government money and people will keep paying taxes, you don’t have performance responsibility?

I would like to mention what I had read in DNA news paper where the author (sorry, forgot the name, can some one send that story link or the name of the author) who is an ex-board member of Indian Airlines mentioned what changed in Indian Airlines that is not happening in Air India or now NACL.

It’s the Employees motivation factor. Employees are the internal customers and if you don’t treat them good, the external customers are going to suffer.

If you are wondering that airline has old staff (Air Hostess) as a reason, that you would be wrong. I have only travelled twice on Air India and it has been a pleasant journey for me, with Air Hostess and Stewards giving proper attention and treated everyone equally. Even the sister airline, Air India Express was very good and comparable to some of Private airlines.

The problem is not onboard aircraft; it’s with the management and its work culture of a typical babus. The managers are not chosen on merit or are under performing because once you become permanent, no one can push you out. Or if that happens, the Worker association starts an agitation and strike, further dampening the airline.

If you plan to privatise, then employees start an agitation. They do that because then they become accountable and which is bad for their leisure.

This is the culture that needs to change in Air India and only then will be there any hope revival for country’s premier airline. Brining on board Ratan Tata may help in getting more money from Government, but I guess even Tata will not be interested in taking reins on the Airline with no control over the staff performance.

This Blog post was selected for the Tangy Tuesday Picks by Tangy Tuesday Picks – July 28, ’09
Air IndiaaviationGovernmentIndian Airlines
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