Airlines ‘merger’ reason for debt, losses: Air India Chief

Raj Kamal Rao
Air India fleet at hanger in Mumbai

Air India fleet at hanger in Mumbai

In a first, the acting Chief of public owned Airlines has slammed the airlines merger of the chaotic financial condition of the carrier.

Air India Chief Ashwani Lohani on Saturday said that merger between Indian Airlines and Air India led to the disordered financils of the national carrier. He added that lack of leadership in the organisation added to its despair

“A merger that really never happened and in the process resulted in a chaotic situation is at the back of all ills that we are currently witness to,” Lohani said

He also said that top slots of the organisation failed to look after the human resource while “cursing the organisation for its failure”.

“It makes me sad when the common employee is often blamed for the ills of the organisation, in this case too, whereas the real reason for the debacle lies elsewhere, in my opinion on the head honcho,” Lohani said in his blog.

Lohani took charge as Air India Chief in September last year when the it was struggling with huge debt and losses.

Coming out in support of the employees, he said, “How can an organisation that loses no opportunity in deriding its own men and making them unhappy, find faults with them for lack of deliverance is what I have always failed to fathom.”

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“An organisation is only as good or as bad as the head honcho, everything else is merely a symptom,” the Chairman and Managing Director of Air India said.

He also hit out at the bureaucratic procedures and the “procrastination that the company has of late come to specialise in”.

“Earlier I always believed that the great Indian Railways was the mother of all bureaucracies, but not any longer. Here at the national carrier the ridiculousness of the process and the diehard belief therein has been carried to a mind boggling extent,” he said in the blog.

“The mess is by no stretch of imagination a minor one, yet it has to and shall be sorted out…Turning around is not an attempt, it is a foregone conclusion, despite the plethora of handicaps and with this thought at the back of our minds, we are moving ahead,” Lohani said.

According to industry sources, the loss-making airline has been registering steady growth. It is aiming a quick recovery following a reduction in air fuel and an increase in fleet by inducts 100 hired planes to its fleet in next four years.

Ministry of civil aviation has been in consultation with few public sector banks to implement Modi government’s ambitious Air India’s turnaround plan (TAP) and financial restructuring plan (FRP).