The headquarters of Air India Express, the low-cost arm of Air India, continues to be in Mumbai, even six months after it was announced that it would be shifted to Kochi.
It does not seem that the shift would happen anytime in the near future as the post of corporate communication manager is the lone post filled up in the Kochi office of the airline.
Last December, Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation K C Venugopal had announced that the headquarters of the airline would be shifted to Kochi by January, 2013.
However, the airline — which operates a major share of its services from Kerala — is still in search of a spacious office in Kochi, even as top officials reportedly are yet to assume charge.
Earlier, there had been a move to house the headquarters at the government-owned Revenue Tower in the city.
However, this plan was dropped after the district administration informed the authorities that the 4,000-sq ft area demanded by the airline was available on different floors only.
Later, the Ernakulam District Collector had suggested space at the office complex of the Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) but the airline authorities have not taken a final decision in this regard.
Though Minister Venugopal had earlier said that the delay in shifting would be looked into at the ministerial level, no action has been taken so far.
He had also admitted that lack of space was not the only reason for delay in shifting the office.
There were reports that a section of the Mumbai lobby in the air travel sector was making all efforts to prevent the shifting of headquarters to Kochi.
“This lobby is reported to have the support of a section of employees too. It is learnt that most employees are not ready to relocate to Kochi,” said Paulose K Mathew, chairman of the Travel Agents’ Federation of India, Kerala chapter.
“For office space, the airline authorities can utilise its existing building by modifying it,” he added.