Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Nationalism effect

A few weeks back, during he Egyptian political crisis, when Mubarak eventually stepped down after 2 weeks of hold off (apparently he did that to siphon off some 200 billion dollars out f Egypt). Air India chartered special flights to fly Indian stranded. some were tourists and some were people who were working there. The catch you have to pay twice the amount of money you would have usually paid, and there was a huge uproar on how can a national carrier do such a thing. How can they take advantage of people who are in trouble, distressed etc etc...

No other international carrier, including Kingfisher, Jet Airways made this offer to charter this plane...

Air India today is going through a lot of problems:
1) It has the highest employee to plane ratio
2) Being state controlled it is bound to political whims and fancies to suit the operations
3) It needs about 17500 crores to turnaround and the govt intends to give only 25% of that as a bailout package...
4) the employees are not talking eye to eye with the management and are constantly threatening to go on strike
5) It is the only aircraft that has to explain to passengers on how to use the toilets and yet the toilets are so filthy that a decent non Indian will not be able to use it even on a New York - Delhi Flight... speaks a lot about the Indian Hygiene standards...
6) It is in red for the past 5 years and will continue to do so..
7) It is one of the only national carriers in the world which now requires to get a sovereign guarantee to procure new aircrafts and yet the govt has to question why they have to buy now?

With all these problems the carrier is still expected to do social service... why?

1) For the people who would have flown into Egypt on a foreign carrier just because they offered a better price, or may be they are perceived to offer better service?
2) Why didn't those foreign carriers carry them back?
3) This chartered plane went empty to Cairo, who is expected to pay for those seats?
4) Why should govt take financial onus of the people whey they are there for financial gains or personal pleasure?
Nationalism in India seems to be only when there is a moment of crisis and a one way route. The national carriers are supposed to bear the national pressure during the time of crisis...

I feel Air India should now be hived off as a professional entity, most developed countries have it that way...

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