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Be ready for new work culture, Air India chief writes to employees

  • Editor
  • July 19, 2017
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The corporate culture that comes with a new owner will encourage merit and help Air India compete globally, chairman Ashwani Lohani wrote to employees, assuring them that there is no cause for scepticism. The government has decided to privatise the debt-ridden airline that has struggled to compete with aggressive rivals despite prolonged financial support.

“This huge debt has accumulated due to continuous losses over the years. You would, however, appreciate that unless a solution is found to this huge debt, survival in the long run is almost impossible and the proposal to consider disinvestment is a step in this direction. It is the firm conviction of the government that the process of disinvestment is only meant to make Air India a much stronger world class airline… This would indeed be a win-win solution for employees,” Lohani wrote in a letter to employees.

The chairman seemed to hint that only those not working hard might be pulled up. The chairman tried to allay employees’ fears sparked by a government move to privatise AI by telling them that their “genuine and valid” interests would be safeguarded. He also complimented them for the airline’s expanded network and improved services.

“While it is true that the merger has led to operational difficulties, yet we remain confident of solving the genuine grievances of the employees, an effort that has met with success though on a limited scale,” he said while exhorting staff to continue working hard to increase AI’s market share.

Air India’s purchase of 111 aircraft valued at some $11 billion and working capital loans have pushed up its debt from Rs5,000 crore to Rs50,000 crore in the last 10 years. In 2011, when the airline reached a point that it could not pay salaries on time, the government agreed to provide it about Rs30,000 crore in equity funding, spread over a decade.

 

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