Air India pilots threaten to resign en masse, alleging discrimination
Air India pilots report sick, 10 international flights cancelled
The pilots belonging to the Indian Pilots' Guild(IPG), which has pilots of the erstwhile Air India as its members, are headed for a confrontation charging the management today with adopting discriminatory attitude against them and stalling their career progression.
The threat to quit could hit Air India's international operations and comes on the back of cancellation of the 10 flights of its low budget arm "Air India Express" in the last seven days.
The Gulf sector remained unaffected but the Kolkata-Dhaka and Chennai-Singapore sectors were hit, the sources said.
The threat to quit came four days ahead of the launch of a training programme for pilots to fly the Boeing 787 Dreamliners, the first of which is expected to join the airline by December.
In a letter to Air India CMD Rohit Nandan, over 100 pilots, owing allegiance to the IPG said they were "compelled to seek a No Objection Certificate so that we may consider seeking employment elsewhere".
Copies of the letter were also sent to Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi and other officials, besides the Regional Labour Commissioner, Mumbai.
Reacting to the development, an Air India spokesperson said, "We have not received any strike notice so far or a notice for NOC formally from the IPG ".
One of the prime grievances of the IPG is the management's decision to train pilots of erstwhileIndian Airlines for the Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
When contacted, Air India officials, requesting anonymity, said the IPG office-bearers were currently holding negotiations with the management and "we are hopeful of sorting out their issues".
The IPG represents around 200 pilots of the pre-merger Air India, while the Indian Commercial Pilots Association that had gone on strike in April-May this year represents around 1,400 pilots of the erstwhile Indian Airlines.
A total of 101 pilots signed the letter claiming they felt "cheated by the management's unfair and discriminatory decisions, leading to a complete stall of our career progression", IPG sources said.
Air India pilots flying global routes on war path
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| ||It has been suggested that Tata Airlines be merged into this article or section. (Discuss) Proposed since March 2011.|
|Founded||July 1932 (as Tata Airlines)|
|Commenced operations||15 October 1932|
|Frequent-flyer program||Flying Returns|
|Airport lounge||Maharaja Lounge|
|Fleet size||103 (+30 orders)(excl. subsidiaries)|
|Destinations||75 (excl. subsidiaries)|
|Company slogan||Your Palace in the Sky|
|Parent company||Air India Limited|
|Headquarters||Air India Building, |
Nariman Point, Mumbai,Maharashtra, India
|Key people||J. R. D. Tata, Founder|
Rohit Nandan, CMD
Air India (Hindi: एअर इंडिया) is the flag carrier airline of India. It is part of the government of Indiaowned Air India Limited (AIL). The airline operates a fleet of Airbus and Boeing aircraft servingAsia, Australia, Europe and North America. Its corporate office is located at the Air India Building at Nariman Point in South Mumbai. Air India has two major domestic hubs at Indira Gandhi International Airport and Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. An international hub atDubai International Airport is currently being planned.
Air India has the fourth largest share in India's domestic air travel market, behind Jet Airways,Kingfisher and IndiGo. Following its merger with Indian, Air India has faced multiple problems, including escalating financial losses and discontent among employees. Between September 2007 and May 2011, Air India's domestic market share declined from 19.2% to 14%, primarily due to stiff competition from private Indian carriers. In August 2011, Air India's invitation to join Star Alliance was suspended due to its failure to meet the minimum standards for the membership. In October 2011, talks between the airline and Star Alliance have resumed.
Air India was founded by J. R. D. Tata in July 1932 as Tata Airlines, a division of Tata Sons Ltd. (now Tata Group). On 15 October 1932, J. R. D. Tata flew a single-engined De Havilland Puss Moth carrying air mail (postal mail of Imperial Airways) from Karachi's Drigh Road Aerodrome toBombay's Juhu Airstrip via Ahmedabad. The aircraft continued to Madras via Bellary piloted by former Royal Air Force pilot Nevill Vintcent. In 1932 Air India was based out of a hut with a palm thatched roof at Juhu Aerodrome and had 1 pilot and 2 apprentice mechanics along with 2 piston engined aircraft, one Puss Moth and one Leopard Moth aircraft.
Following the end of World War II, regular commercial service was restored in India and Tata Airlines became a public limited company on 29 July 1946 under the name Air India. In 1948, after the independence of India, 49% of the airline was acquired by the Government of India, with an option to purchase an additional 2%. In return, the airline was granted status to operate international services from India as the designated flag carrier under the name Air India International. On 8 June 1948, a Lockheed Constellation L-749A named Malabar Princess(registered VT-CQP) took off from Bombay bound for London via Cairo and Geneva. This marked the airline's first long-haul international flight, soon followed by service in 1950 to Nairobi via Aden.
On 25 August 1953, the Government of India exercised its option to purchase a majority stake in the carrier and Air India International Limited was born as one of the fruits of the Air Corporations Act that nationalised the air transportation industry. At the same time all domestic services were transferred to Indian Airlines (now renamed as Indian). In 1954, the airline took delivery of its first L-1049 Super Constellations and inaugurated services to Bangkok, Hong Kong, Tokyo andSingapore.
The jet age
Air India International entered the jet age in 1960 when its first Boeing 707-420, named Gauri Shankar (registered VT-DJJ), was delivered. Jet services to New York City via London were inaugurated that same year on 14 May 1960. On 8 June 1962, the airline's name was officially truncated to Air India. On 11 June 1962, Air India became the world's first all-jet airline.
In 1971, the airline took delivery of its first Boeing 747-200B named Emperor Ashoka (registered VT-EBD). This coincided with the introduction of the 'Palace In The Sky' livery and branding. A feature of this livery is the paintwork around each aircraft window, in the cusped arch style of windows in Indian palaces. In 1986 Air India took delivery of the Airbus A310-300; the airline is the largest operator of this type in passenger service. In 1988, Air India took delivery of two Boeing 747-300Ms in mixed passenger-cargo configuration.
In 1993, Air India took delivery of the flagship of its fleet when the first Boeing 747-400 namedKonark (registered VT-ESM) made history by operating the first non-stop flight between New York City and Delhi. In 1994 the airline was registered as Air India Ltd. In 1996, the airline inaugurated service to its second US gateway at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago. In 1999, the airline opened its dedicated Terminal 2-C at the renamed Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport inMumbai.
2000 – present
In 2000, Air India introduced services to Shanghai and to its third US gateway at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark. In May 2004, Air India launched a wholly owned low cost airlinecalled Air-India Express. Air India Express connecting cities in India with the Middle East, Southeast Asia and the Subcontinent. In 2004 Air India launched flights to its fourth US gateway at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles (which has since been terminated) and expanded its international routes to include flights from Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bangalore andHyderabad.
On 1 December 2009, Air India introduced services to its fifth US gateway at Washington Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C., accessed via a stopover at JFK Airport in New York City. This service has been terminated.
- Re-privatisation plans
In 2001, Air India was put up for sale by the then NDA government. One of the bids was by a consortium of Tata Group-Singapore Airlines. However the re-privatisation plans were shelved after Singapore Airlines pulled out and the global economy slumped.
- Merger with Indian Airlines
In 2007, the Government of India announced that Air India would be merged with Indian Airlines. As part of the merger process, a new company called the National Aviation Company of India Limited(NACIL) was established, into which both Air India (along with Air India Express) and Indian Airlines (along with Alliance Air) will be merged.
On 27 February 2011, Air India and Indian Airlines merged along with their subsidiaries to form Air India Limited.
- Financial crisis
Around 2006–2007, the airlines began showing signs of financial distress. The combined losses for Air India and Indian in 2006-07 were 770 crores ( 7.7 billion). After the merger of the airlines, this went up to 7,200 crores ( 72 billion) by March 2009. This was followed by restructuring plans which are still in progress. In July 2009, SBI Capital Markets Ltd was appointed to prepare a road map for the recovery of the airline. The carrier sold three Airbus A300 and one Boeing 747-300M in March 2009 for $18.75 million to survive the financial crunch.
As of March 2011, Air India has accumulated a debt of Rs. 42,570 crore (approximately $10 billion) and an operating loss of Rs. 22,000 crore, and is seeking Rs. 42,920 crore from the government. For the past three months (June, July, August 2011), the carrier has been missing salary payments and interest payments and Moody's Investor Service has warned that missing payments by Air India to creditors, such as the State Bank of India, will negatively affect the credit ratings of those banks. A report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) blamed the decision to buy 111 new planes as one of the major causes of the debt troubles in Air India; in addition it blamed on the ill timed merger with Indian Airlines as well,.
Air India's corporate headquarters is located at the Air India Building at Nariman Point in South Mumbai. The airline moved there in 1970. TheAir India Building also serves as a regional office for Indian.
- Delhi Hub
On 1 March 2009, Air India had made Frankfurt Airport at Frankfurt am Main as its international hub for onward connections to United Statesfrom India; however, the airline shut down the Frankfurt hub on 30 October 2010. However on July 14, 2010, Air India chief, Arvind Jadhav announced their intention to make the new terminal 3 at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport the hub for international and domestic operations with the plans of starting new direct flights to Chicago and Toronto and also taking almost all international long haul flights away from its former Primary hub at Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport due to lack of space. This would also provide greater convenience for transit passengers who before had to transfer between the international and domestic terminals which were located on completely different sides of the airport. They will now be able to catch their connecting flights within the same terminal.
- Return to profitability plans
The new Chairman and Managing director wants to change the order of some of the 111 planes ordered in 2006 to get narrow-body aircraft instead of the wide-body aircraft.
Corporate affairs and identity
- Air India Cargo
In 1954, Air India Cargo started its freighter operations with a Douglas DC-3 Dakota aircraft, giving Air India the distinction of being the first Asian airline to operate freighters. The airline operates cargo flights to many destinations. The airline also has ground truck-transportation arrangements on select destinations.
A member of IATA, Air India carries all types of cargo including dangerous goods (hazardous materials) and live animals, provided such shipments are tendered according to IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations and IATA Live Animals Regulations.
At the warehouse in Mumbai, Air India has developed a system of inventory management for cargo handling of import/export functions. This takes care of the entire management of cargo, supportsElectronic Data Interface (EDI) messages with Indian Customs and replaces to a great extent existing paper correspondence between Customs, Airlines, and the custodians. This also replaces manual handling and binning of cargo at the warehouse in Mumbai by Air India.
- Air India Express
Air India Express is the airline's low-cost subsidiary which was established in 2005 during the aviation boom in India. It operates scheduled passenger services primarily to the Persian Gulf andSouth East Asia. Air India Express is currently the only airline in Air India Limited which posts profits. It operates a fleet of Next Generation Boeing 737-800 aircraft.Cochin International Airport is the main hub of the airline from which it has connections to almost all the Gulf countries.
- Air India Regional
Air India Regional (formerly known as Alliance Air) serves mainly on regional routes. Its main hub is Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport.
- 1970–2007 livery
Air India's livery was mostly painted in red and white colours. The bottoms of the aircraft remain metal and unpainted but the upper portion is given a white background along with the airline's name written in red. The name is in Hindi on one side and in English on the other. The painted on red palace style carvings on the outside of the windows refer to their slogan "your palace in the sky" which is written on the back of the aircraft. Near the noses of Air India aircraft, the air plane is given a name. Most planes are named after powerful Indian kings or landmarks. Finally, the tail is mostly red with again, the carrier's name written in Hindi on one side and English on the other.
In 1989, to supplement its "Flying Palace" livery, Air India introduced a new livery that was mostly white with a golden spinning wheel (as seen on the flag of India) on a red tail. Only applied to around a half of Air India's fleet, the new livery did not succeed, as the Indian flying public complained about the phasing out of the classic colours. The livery was dropped after two years and the old scheme was returned.
- Pre-merger livery
On 15 May 2007, Air India refreshed its livery, making the Rajasthani arches along the windows slightly smaller, extending a stylised cheatline from the vertical tail of the aircraft to the nose, and painting a small portion of the underbelly red. Additionally, engine nacelles are now deep red, and a gold-coloured version of the airline's stylized Konark trademark now adorns both the vertical tail and engine nacelles.
- Post-merger livery
On May 22, 2007, Air India and Indian unveiled their new livery. The logo of the new airline is a Flying Swan with the Konark Chakra placed inside it. The Flying Swan has been morphed from Air India's characteristic logo, 'The Centaur' whereas the 'Konark Chakra' is reminiscent of Indian's logo.
The new logo features prominently on the tail of the aircraft. Individually the Konark Chakra also features on all the engines of the aircraft. The choice of colours namely red for "Flying Swan" and orange for "Konark Chakra" are meant to signify vigour and advancement. Further the colours also have a strong association with two carriers thereby retaining the earlier imagery of traditional hospitality and service.
While the aircraft is ivory in colour, the base retains the red streak of Air India. Running parallel to each other is the Orange and Red speed lines from front door to the rear door, subtly signifying the individual identities merged into one. The brand name 'Air India' runs across the tail of the aircraft in hindi.
- Short-haul routes
Air India's short-haul routes mainly include domestic cities and cities in South East Asia and South West Asia. For short-haul routes itsAirbus A310, Airbus A330, Boeing 747-400 and Boeing 777-200LR are used apart from Airbus A320 family aircraft of Indian which are operated with Air India callsign and code.
- Long-haul routes
- Fleet info
- New aircraft orders
- On 11 January 2006, Air India announced an order for fifty eight jets - eight Boeing 777-200LR Worldliners, twenty-three Boeing 777-300ER and twenty seven Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners
- The airlines received its first Boeing 777-200LR aircraft on 26 July 2007 and Boeing 777-300ER on 10 October 2007.
- In April 2010, the airline has orderd three Boeing 777-300ERs.
- Air India expects to get its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner in December 2011.
Frequent flyer programme
The Maharaja Lounge (English: "Emperor's Lounge") is offered to First and Business class passengers. Air India shares lounges with other international airlines at international airports that do not have a Maharaja Lounge available. There are five Maharaja Lounges, one at each of the five major destinations of Air India, which are as following:
- Bengaluru International Airport (Bangalore)
- Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (Mumbai)
- Indira Gandhi International Airport (Delhi)
- Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (Hyderabad)
Air India's Boeing 777-200LR/-300ER as well as some refurbished Boeing 747-400 aircraft use theThales TopSeries IFE systems for onboard in-flight entertainment. Airbus A310s do not have personal LCD screens. Airbus A330s have widescreen displays in Business and Economy classes but no personal IFEs.
Awards and recognitions
- Preferred International Airline award for travel and hospitality from Awaz Consumer Awards 2006 
- Best International West Bound Airline out of India for three successive years by Galileo Express TravelWorld Award
- Best Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative. by Galileo Express TravelWorld Award 
- Best Short-Haul International Airline by Galileo Express TravelWorld Award 2008
- The Mercury Award for the years 1994 and 2003, from the International Flight Catering Association, for finest in-flight catering services.
- Amity Corporate Excellence Award instituted by the Amity International Business School, Noida, Uttar Pradesh to honour Corporates with distinct vision, innovation, competitiveness and sustenance.
- Reader's Digest Trusted Brand Award
- Dun and Bradstreet Award(D&B)- first in terms of revenue out of the top airline companies out of India
- Best South Asian Airline award by readers of TTG Asia, TTG China, TTG Mice and TTG-BT Mice China, all renowned Mice and business travel publications.
- Cargo Airline of the Year at the 26th Cargo Airline of the Year Awards
- The airline entered the Guinness Book of World Records for the most people evacuated by a civil airliner. Over 111,000 people were evacuated from Amman to Mumbai – a distance of 4,117 km, by operating 488 flights in association with Indian, from 13 August to 11 October 1990 – lasting 59 days. The operation was carried out during Persian Gulf War in 1990 to evacuate Indian expatriates from Kuwait and Iraq.
- The Montreal Protocol Public Awareness Award was awarded to Air India by the United Nations for environmental protection, especially in the ozone layer.
- World's first all-jet airline- June 1962
- World's largest operator of Airbus A310-300
- Air India's security department became the first aviation security organisation in the world to acquire ISO 9002 certification (31 January 2001).
- Air India's Department of Engineering has obtained the ISO 9002 for its Engineering facilities for meeting international standards.
Accidents and incidents
| ||This section is in a list format that may be better presented using prose. You can help by converting this section to prose, if appropriate. Editing help is available. (January 2011)|
Ten Air India flights have fatally crashed, including those due to terrorist attacks. Air India has a record of 6.82 fatal events per million flights.
- On 3 November 1950 Air India Flight 245 Malabar Princess a Lockheed L-749 Constellation (registered VT-CQP) carrying 48 people (40 passengers and 8 crew), flying on the Bombay-Cairo-Geneva-London route, crashed on Mont Blanc, France, killing all on board.
- On 11 April 1955 Kashmir Princess a Lockheed L-749A Constellation registered (VT-DEP) carrying 19 people (11 passengers and 8 crew) was bombed in midair, killing 16 of the 19 on board.
- On 19 July 1959 Rani of Aera a Lockheed L-1049G Super Constellation (registered VT-DIN) carrying 46 people (39 passengers and 7 crew) approached Santacruz Airport in conditions of poor visibility due to rain. The captain was using an altimeter with the barometric pressure set at 29.92". An overshoot was delayed and the aircraft crashed and suffered damage beyond repair. There were no fatalities.
- On 24 January 1966 Air India Flight 101 Kanchenjunga a Boeing 707-420 (registered VT-DMN) carrying 117 people (106 passengers and 11 crew) crashed on Mont Blanc, France, on the border between France and Italy, killing all on board. Among the dead was the noted Indian scientist, Homi J. Bhabha.
- On 1 January 1978 Air India Flight 855 Emperor Ashoka a Boeing 747-237B (registered VT-EBD) crashed into the Arabian Sea after takeoff from Sahar International Airport (nowChhatrapati Shivaji International Airport) in Mumbai, killing all on board (213 persons; 190 passengers, 23 crew).
- On 21 June 1982 Air India Flight 403 Gouri Shankar a Boeing 707-420 (registered VT-DJJ) carrying 99 passengers and 12 crew from Kuala Lumpur International Airport via Madras (nowChennai) crashed at Sahar International Airport after a heavy landing during a rainstorm. The fuselage exploded after starting a late go-around. Two crew members and 15 passengers were killed.
- On 23 June 1985 Air India Flight 182 Emperor Kanishka a Boeing 747-237B (registered VT-EFO) was blown up in mid-air, mid-flight by a suitcase-bomb planted by Babbar Khalsa Terrorists allegedly as revenge for the Indian Government's operation on the Golden Temple on June 1984. The flight was on the first leg on its Montreal-London-Delhi-Bombay flight when it exploded off the coast of Cork, Ireland. The plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. All 307 passengers and 22 crew on board died.After this incident Air India suspended all services to Montreal.
- On 7 May 1990 Air India Flight 132 Emperor Vikramaditya a Boeing 747-237B (registered VT-EBO) flying on the London-Delhi-Bombay route and carrying 215 people (195 passengers and 20 crew) touched down at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport after a flight fromLondon's Heathrow Airport. On application of reverse thrust, a failure of the no. 1 engine pylon to wing attachment caused this engine to tilt nose down. Hot exhaustion gases caused a fire on the left wing. There were no fatalities but the aircraft was damaged beyond repair and written off.
- On 24 December 1999, Friday Indian Airlines Flight 814(VT-EDW) had 178 passengers on board (most of whom were Indian nationals) that were coming to India after vacationing in Nepal. was hijacked, shortly after the aircraft entered Indian airspace at about 17:30 Indian Standard Time.The aircraft was hijacked by armed gunmen . After touching down in Amritsar, Lahore and Dubai, the hijackers forced the aircraft to land in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The hijackers released 27 of 176 passengers in Dubai but fatally stabbed one and wounded several others.The hijacking lasted for seven days and ended after India released three militants — Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and Maulana Masood Azhar.
- On 4 September 2009, Air India Flight 829 Konark a Boeing 747-437 (registered VT-ESM) flying on the Mumbai-Riyadh route caught fire at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. The fire started in number one engine while the aircraft was taxing to Runway 27 for take-off. An emergency evacuation was carried out with no injuries among the 228 people (213 passengers and 15 crew) on board.
- Air India Limited
- Indian (airline)
- Air India Regional
- Air India Air Transport Services
- Air India One
- ^ Air India plans major hub in Dubai
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