There is a new air of optimism at Air India.
Air India’s recent plan to shift around 19,000 of its employees to its ground handling and engineering subsidiaries hinged on the decision of its employee unions. That fact alone speaks volumes. In all, seven unions were involved in the talks in April; and whilst negotiations were difficult, a decision was finally made.
It has taken a long time for the carrier to realise that splitting up the employee body and creating a separate entity for the ground handling function would be ultimately to its advantage. Analysts believe that such a trimming of the workforce to service the carrier’s needs ought to bear fruit. This step, though, is only part of the approach that will see it try and rid itself of the reputed US$4bn level of debt that is hanging around its neck. Other actions will include the delivery of several B787 Dreamliners, the first of which should start service next year. Their acclaimed frugality should help the airline to the tune of a 20% operational saving. Finally, debt restructuring, courtesy of the country’s banks, will assist in keeping the carrier aloft – and hopefully put it on course for a profitable future.