Ahead of privatisation sale, Air India chairman Ashwani Lohani has written a letter to employees asking them to be ready for a complete change in work culture. In this letter, Lohani has clearly told the employees that merit will get them a better deal. Lohani said that even though Air India has grown in the recent times, there is a scope for a lot of improvement in services and expansion. “At the outset I would like to compliment my entire team for the improvement in services and the expansion in reach that we have achieved in recent times. I have always maintained and still do that Air lndians are high on capability and commitment,” the letter read. Talking about the debt due to which the government was forced to consider selling the airline, Lohani said survival in the long term was impossible if a solution was not found. He added that the government believes that selling the process of disinvestment is only meant to make Air India a much stronger world class airline.
Here is the complete letter written by Ashwani Lohani:
At the outset I would like to compliment my entire team for the improvement in services and the expansion in reach that we have achieved in recent times. I have always maintained and still do that Air lndians are high on capability and commitment. The very fact that we could move forward substantially despite constraints and re-establish our position in the aviation sector speaks volumes about the inner strength of the natronal carrier. ln the recent past, the combined efforts of all Air Indians have helped the company regain some of its old sheen. Your company posted a marginal operating profit in 2015-16, launched a number of new international and domestic flights and also effected considerable improvements in its services and all these have helped portray a positive image of the company in the eyes of the general public. It only goes to show that your company has an unmatched reservoir oftalent and inherent inner strength.
The government’s recent decision to consider “in principle” the disinvestment of Air India may have prompted you to seek certain clarifications. This decision is primarily an offshoot of the inability of the airline to service the huge accumulated debt of over Rs. 50,000 crore. This huge debt has accumulated due to continuous losses over the years. You would however appreciate that unless a solution is found to this huge debt, survival in the long run is almost impossible and the proposal to consider disinvestment is a step in this direction. It is the firm conviction of the Government that the process of disinvestment is only meant to make Air India a much stronger world class airline capable of competing with others successfully. This would indeed be a win win solution for employees.
Despite this decision to consider disinvestment “in principle”, I am confident that the entire Air India Family shall continuously follow the company policy of consolidation and improving the market share. Improvements to services and continuously reaching out to newer destinations shall therefore continue unabated. I have always believed that for any organization, clients do not come first, employees come first. Here in Air India too, we have always held foremost the interests of its employees. While it is true that the merger has led to operational difficulties, yet we remain confident of solving the genuine grievances of the employees, an effort that has met with success though on a limited scale.
These are changing times and any change, despite being inevitable, is always hard to accept. Ownership changes that we expect at Air India would also lead to a change in the working environment and the work culture. The complexities of working in a PSU environment would get replaced by a corporate culture, a culture in which merit would get a better deal. This should enable a full realization of the inherent potential of your airline besides creating an environment that would indeed be conducive for all of us who are used to working hard with commitment and integrity. ‘the wonderful team of Air Indians, especially the licensed personnel should, therefore, have nothing to be sceptical about.
I would also like to reassure all my employees that during the process of disinvestment, the Government and the airline management would Iike to safeguard your genuine and valid interests and ensure that suitable measures to this effect are put in place.
My best wishes to you and your family.