Saturday, October 09, 2021

What will be the fate of Air India employees, VVIP travel, haj pilgrims? Here are answers

What does this mean for retired and current Air India employees?

Free trips for them and family members will be curbed. The health insurance of retired employees will be transferred either to the central government health scheme or to an insurance company — employees may have to make some payment for insurance coverage.

Will Air India have to reserve planes for VVIP travel?

The Indian government has bought three Boeing 777 planes for travel by dignitaries such as the President, vice-president and prime minister. These aircraft are managed and maintained by the Indian Air Force and carry its livery. IAF pilots are also being trained to operate these planes. The call sign for the plane carrying the PM will most likely continue to be Air India One, as it was on his recent trip to the US.

What happens if the government needs to evacuate Indian citizens, as it did during the gulf war and the covid outbreak?

As a government-owned carrier, Air India has always been pressed into service in emergency situations. To be sure, Air India was always paid for these flights. Once AI passes from state control, the government can always ask private carriers to help out with evacuations. It is unlikely that an airline would decline such a request coming from the govt.

Will the Air India brand remain after privatisation?

The brand Air India is set to stay. The government wants the future owners to keep the brand and they, in turn, would also want to retain the label, as it’s well known across the globe. ET had also reported earlier that it’s possible that all the Tata airline businesses would come under the Air India umbrella if the bid succeeded.

How much time will it take to transfer Air India to its new owners?

The process has already started. Both bidders were given a share purchase agreement (SPA) at a meeting held with them on September 29. The acquirer’s next step will be making payments to the government, which aims to hand over the airline in four months but it could take until the end of this fiscal year.

Who will fly haj pilgrims now?

The government has allocated Haj flights based on bids. The airline bidding for operating flights at the lowest cost were given the contract, leading to savings. But Haj flights funded by the government will end next year. The Supreme Court ordered in 2012 that Haj subsidies had to be abolished in 10 years.

09/10/21 Economic Times

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