Air India Chief Addresses Divestment Jitters in an Open Letter
The government is planning to invite bids for the national carrier next month, while the employee unions have decided to oppose it, saying there is no clarity regarding salary arrears and pensions.
The government is planning to invite bids for the national carrier next month, while the employee unions have decided to oppose it, saying there is no clarity regarding salary arrears and pensions.(Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)

Air India Chief Addresses Divestment Jitters in an Open Letter

Air India chief Ashwani Lohani on Thursday, 7 November, in an open letter, stated that the airline's management shares the concerns of its staff and is taking necessary steps to protect their interests, even as its employees' unions are planning to protest against the government's disinvestment move.

While the government is planning to invite bids for the national carrier next month, its employee unions on Wednesday, 6 November, decided to oppose it, saying there is no clarity regarding salary arrears and pensions.

Lohani, in a communication to the employees, said:

“Air India, your very own national carrier, is easily the most well-known Indian brand across the globe. It is incumbent upon all of us together to ensure that the brand retains its sheen even in the present testing times.”

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He said it is natural that many employees would be concerned about the future in light of the disinvestment scenario as any change in ownership brings about changes in the work culture and environment.

"Kindly be rest assured that the management fully shares your concerns and is taking necessary steps to protect the genuine interests of all Air Indians," said the airline's chairman and managing director.

The government would be conducting roadshows at global financial centres like London and Singapore this month to entice investors for the disinvestment. Lohani said Air India has been going through an extremely stretched financial situation, primarily due to huge debt servicing liabilities that has been affecting the airline.

Lohani noted:

“It (disinvestment) may enable sustainability as well as help in attaining the full inherent potential of the national carrier, thereby also helping the nation in attaining its economic goals.”

"At this juncture, despite considerable constraints, it is essential that Air India as always continue to put in their best efforts in their area of responsibility," Lohani said.

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