Friday, February 18, 2011

Air India's head honchos under Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi's close scrutiny

New Delhi:  The heat is on at Air India and facing it is the national carrier's top management. The new Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi is scrutinising the performance of the top brass amid increasing unrest among the employees over apathy from their top managers.

Matters aggravated last week after the January salaries of employees were delayed thrice. The airline is already under fire from its employees for hiring senior executives at high salaries even as the company has been bleeding heavily.

Making it clear that he was closely monitoring the situation, Vayalar Ravi told NDTV, "Workers issues are there, they are separate. But management issues also we will look into."

The minister has over the past two days, met 14 unions of the national carrier, which represent 30,000 employees.
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The employees' grouse has been the mammoth salaries of the management heads at a time when the airline is crumbling under a debt of Rs. 40,000 crore and has asked for another Rs. 2,000 crore from the government to tide over the crisis.

Sources say the Civil Aviation Ministry has already cracked the whip. One officer has already been sacked and two more could be shown the door.

Pawan Arora was sacked as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Air India Express. He was earning Rs. 1.2 crore per annum.

Stefan Sukumar, Chief Training Officer (CTO) could go next. He currently takes home Rs. 1.2 crore every year and

Gustav Baldauf , the COO of Air India is also likely to be shunted out . He has a paycheck of Rs. 3 crore per annum.

The minister will also have to look into another sensitive issue of parity in pay of employees after Indian Airlines and Air India merged into a single entity.

Next on the Civil Aviation Minister's agenda is a meeting with the independent Directors on the board of Air India in an attempt to bridge the growing gap between the top management and the employees.






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