PM's intervention sought to revive AI

In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former Executive Director Jitender Bhargava said he was compelled to "conclude that Air India as a product is not suffering by default but the future of the airline is being deliberately and systematically sabotaged".

"It is shocking to see that no efforts (to bring it out of the financial rut) are being made by the management as a consequence of which the airline is sinking, and sinking fast. Why is this being allowed?" he said.

Referring to the state of affairs in the airline, Bhargava said, "How else can one infer but to state that Air India's existence is being sabotaged with the government, as its owner, unfortunately being a mute spectator."

Observing that its market share was going down every month and the losses mounting, he said the airline had begun to "default even on interest payments", while other Indian airlines were seeing their losses decline in the same period.

Claiming that Air India's turnaround plan has been "a non-starter", he said passengers' perception was "at its nadir" and the airline was luring passengers only by offering low fares adversely affecting its financial viability. While productivity had gone down, the employees' morale was "virtually non-existent".

He also alleged that several crucial departments like the Ground Services Department, the Customer Services Department and the HR Department were being run by "inexperienced officers on part time basis" leading to "deterioration" in their functioning.

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