What’s wrong with AI?

AILING INDIAN carrier Air India’s decision to cancel a number of flights from Kerala to various Middle East destinations smacks of arrogance. Air India and Air India Express continue to be the lifeline of over two million South Indians who work and live in the Gulf region.

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Tue 25 Sep 2012, 10:04 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 12:56 AM

The decision to cancel flights comes on top of these carriers milking passengers dry during peak season, backed by numerous complaints of delayed flights and discourteous service by the staff.

While the Kerala government has now upped its ante in pressurising the central government to restore the flights, the credibility of the carriers has been irreparably damaged.

At a time when the India is deciding to open its aviation sector to foreign investment partners, the decision by the two Indian airlines has raised eyebrows on where the loyalties of the airline management truly rest. There are innumerable conspiracy theories doing the rounds over the decision. Critics argue that the move is aimed at promoting the interests of some of the more recent entrants to the aviation scene. To address the woes of the expatriate Malayalis, who contribute significantly to Kerala’s foreign exchequer, plans are afoot to launch the state’s own carrier, Air Kerala. For this to take off too, there are various central governmental clearances needed. Air India, no doubt, has been going through a tough phase. The strike by pilots earlier this year had added to the mounting losses of the carrier. The reasons for Air India’s distress might lie beyond what is obvious. There have been reports of administrative callousness and bureaucratic inefficiencies, not to mention the airline’s inability to rise above mediocrity in the face of mounting competition from private operators. However, these are no justifications for inconveniencing thousands of travellers. The fact that Air India could pull a fast one on them on destinations that are the busiest begs the question on what prompted such a decision? Is it administrative callousness, or does it stem from an over-confidence that the voice of the people can be ignored?

Flight cancellations maybe the airline’s prerogative and they can cite umpteen reasons from pilot fatigue to technical faults, but there’s no excuse to not inform passengers beforehand or for not taking measures for alternative arrangements. Perhaps it’s time that the government looked more closely at the operations of its aviation behemoth before it clears the deck for foreign investors to rush in.

More news from