The Air India turnaround plan is going to be the biggest challenge for Aviation Secretary K N Srivastava who recently took over the portfolio from his predecessor Nasim Zaidi.
Just a few days into the job, Srivastava is already treading the tough road ahead. With no real leeway in Air India, the new secretary took stock of the situation and will be instrumental in effecting key decisions about the carrier.
Air India is all set to implement a massive voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) which will be imposed on 5,000 employees of the national carrier.
Experts say that such a move will be suicidal for the airline as the best and most experienced hands will move out leaving the company with non-performers. Faced with such conflicting views, Srivastava has to now decide the right move.
On Zaidi’s last day at work, the Civil Aviation Safety Advisory Council (CASAC) was revived with limited members and a specific clause to act on the highlighted deficiencies by the expert group.
“We hope our suggestions will be taken seriously this time and the council is more result oriented,” said Capt Mohan Ranganathan who will be a part of the core group. Srivastava will have the onerous task of ensuring that CASAC this time makes some positive impact on aviation.
The new secretary is expected to take a full-fledged meeting of CASAC members later this month which will involve representatives of the airlines, airports, general aviation and helicopters. The ministry is also considering new regulations on fuel and ticket prices which Srivastava is studying for effective implementation.
“Zaidi had set a high benchmark with the number of policies he brought about during his tenure. The new secretary will have to live up them,” said a ministry official.