Mumbai: In a move that can once again push Air India Express, the low cost subsidiary of national carrier Air India into uncertainty, S Chandrakumar its chief operating officer has sought a voluntary retirement. The senior Air India official was set to retire in August 2013 but decided to leave early from his service.
Air India Express currently operates 350 flights per week to international destinations mainly in the Middle East with its base in the south Indian city of Kochi. The headquarters of AI Express were moved from Mumbai to Kochi in 2011, the engineering base however remained at Mumbai which is also a hub of Air India.
Air India Express has been struggling with safety issues and the Indian civil aviation regulator reprimanded the airline for serious safety lapses last year.
Company sources say that a tight hold of Air India over the decision making authority in AI Express and internal politics within the airline may have influenced the move of Chandrakumar, a veteran in the airline who joined Air India in 1976.
17/04/12 Manisha Singhal/Times of India