agree to continue with the airline right till the date of his retirement?
Bhargava was vehemently critical of the aircraft order placed with Boeing. However, as Thulasidas explained recently in an article he wrote for a national daily, Air India’s planes before the aircraft order were old and required an urgent change. Nearly 30 planes needed to be replaced, 18 were required for Air India Express, which has turned out to be a successful subsidiary for Air India, and the rest of the planes were required for growth.
Thulasidas, perhaps harshly, says Bhargava is a disgruntled former employee upset at not being appointed on the board after 20 years of service. It may or may not be true, but the fact that The Descent of Air India is nothing more than a rant of a disgruntled employee cannot be denied. However, one should definitely read the book to understand the psyche of employees at Air India after nationalisation.
Individual ambitions were more important than the good of the airline. If this weren’t true, Bhargava, perhaps, would have been more daring and actually done more than write letters to prevent the descent of his ‘karmabhoomi’ into a debt-laden company synonymous with a public sector undertaking gone wrong.
The Descent of Air India really proves the apathy of the bureaucrats who run the airline, where writing letters and not taking direct action used to be the norm to fix things.