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Air India

Air India turns to employees for help with crisis

Jun 21, 2009

NEW DELHI - State-run Air India has asked its employees to work jointly toward overcoming the financial crisis faced by the nation's flag carrier.

The appeal by Air India's chairman and managing director Arvind Jadhav comes as employees at its biggest workers group, Air Corporation Employees Union, threatened last week to strike work over deferred payment of salaries for June by two weeks for a total of 31,000 workers.

"This is an hour of crisis for all of us," Mr. Jadhav told the employees. "It is a fight for survival. The survival of our own airline."

"I am looking for every single employee of our airline to rise to the challenge and demonstrate that we not only have more experience in running an airline as compared to others but also have the ability to overcome the crisis and emerge with flying colors," Mr. Jadhav said, according to a statement issued by Air India Saturday.

Friday, Mr. Jadhav had requested senior executives of the airline to voluntarily forego their salary and productivity-linked perks for July.

The Air India management is in talks with the workers union to apprise them of the crisis faced by the airline due to the global economic slowdown, the chairman said.

Mr. Jadhav also told the workers that Air India has only deferred salaries and hasn't implemented any harsh steps such as curtailment of flights, job cuts and freeze on payments taken by several carriers such as British Airways Plc, Japan Airlines Corp. and AMR Corp.'s American Airlines.

Air India, run by the National Aviation Co. of India Ltd., has asked the federal government for 39.81 billion rupees ($828.9 million) in financial assistance in both equity and soft loans, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said in February.

"We are hopeful that the government of India will extend a helping hand soon," Mr. Jadhav said. "However, as we have seen in the U.S., financial help from the government comes with conditions attached."

Air India is likely to have incurred a net loss of more than 40 billion rupees in the financial year ended March 31, a civil aviation ministry official said in May.

The carrier has ordered 68 planes from Boeing Co. and 43 from European plane maker Airbus in 2005, estimated at about $15 billion at list prices.

Air India has so far raised more than $3 billion to buy 38 planes. It expects the remaining 73 to join its fleet by 2012.

Air India turns to employees for help with crisis
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