Air India’s employees union today joined issue with the ongoing advertisement war between the national carrier and budget airline IndiGo by asking Mumbai airport authorities to remove the controversial ad forthwith.
Air Corporations Employees Union, which is the largest staff union at the government-owned airline, has in a letter to the Terminal 1B Manager of the Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) has asked the authorities to create a healthy atmosphere at the airport and remove the controversial ad put up by the IndiGo immediately.
Union regional secretary Vivek Rao said, “As the airport operator, you cannot absolve yourself from the responsibility on such an issue as it is your bounden duty to ensure that no airline use such a defamatory and slanderous advertisement campaign against any other airline.”
MIAL, which runs Mumbai Airport, is a joint venture company between GVK-led consortium and Airports Authority of India. GVK holds majority stake in the JV.
“Therefore as a responsible airport operator, we want you to immediately remove the glow sign put by IndiGo against Air India,” the union said in the letter, which it wrote after meeting the terminal manager.
The controversy started early last week when the AI ad placed next to the check-in areas of IndiGo said: ‘Wish you a comfortable flight. Next time fly with Air India and feel the difference.’
IndiGo, which of late has been faring badly on on-time performance amid its aircraft reporting frequent technical glitches, reacted the very next day with a counter ad, that named Air India directly.
At the check-in bay of the national carrier, IndiGo put up a small standee that read: ‘Yes, Air India, there is a difference. Says the government.’
To back its claims, the Gurgaon-based airline added a small table that shows its airline rated as the best when it comes to on-time performance and Air India as the worst. When it came to passenger complaint, IndiGo was rated as the lowest while the national carrier had the highest number of complaints, as per the IndiGo ad.
The union letter concluded saying “We hope you take a serious note of the development and our letter and create a good and healthy atmosphere at the airport.”
When contacted, an official of MIAL said the ad is still present where it was placed.
MIAL has given the advertising rights to the Times Group’s outdoor agency Times OOH.