The loss-making and disinvestment bound Air India has removed its executive director AS Soman from in-flight services. The order was issued last week in which Soman was directed by Air India chairman and managing director Rajiv Bansal to take charge of Head Quarters with immediate effect. Even though no official reason was cited for the removal, an insider revealed that there was some dispute between operations and in-flight services department. In place of Soman, AK Govil, who is the ED for operations now, has been given the additional role. However, the Air India spokesman was not available for comment, according to PTI.
Earlier in March, Soman was made the ED of in-flight services from the training department during a major rejig at Air India. The move was done after the then ED, operations, AK
Kathpalia was removed from the post for evading both pre and post-flight alcohol tests and subsequently Govil was brought to the operations department from the in-flight services.
Notably, in past two years, this is the second time that Soman’s tenure at a particular post was cut short. He was removed as the head of safety on the instructions from the regulator DGCA for failing to preserve flight monitoring data in July 2015.
There is another development related to Air India. As per official, “the crucial crew management system (CMS) has been brought under the control of the ED, integration, which till now was reporting to the ED, operations.”
The CMS is an integrated tool for crew planning, including of the pilots, depending on the network plan and commercial schedule.
Air India’s services are quite complex, compared to its peers, consisting of international, domestic, regional (Alliance Air) and LCC (AI Express) operations. Apart from harmonising and developing crew utilisation and productivity across the entire fleet of different types of aircraft, the CMS provides a stable duty roster and online platform for communication between the crew members and pilots. The system also performs real-time monitoring and tracking of the crew from a central location and help recover from disruptions quickly.