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Air India employees need not worry about their jobs, at least not for a year

BusinessToday.In     February 18, 2020

Air India employees don't have to worry about their job prospects after the national carrier goes into private hands. Civil aviation minister Hardeep Puri on Monday said that the successful bidder of the airline will have to retain its existing employees for a bargained time-limit so that they don't face any kind of uncertainty following privatisation.

Puri said it at a function to felicitate the Air India crew which evacuated 647 Indians and seven Maldivians from Coronavirus-hit Chinese city of Wuhan.

"I do not think anyone can run an airline without the people, the engineering staff, the cabin crew, the commander and all of you. There has not been any recruitment for years and therefore, there is no surplus (workforce)," he said.

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The civil aviation minister added that the government will negotiate a lock-in period to retain the employees for a specific time frame with "whoever is the interested player."

The civil aviation minister added that the government wants Air India to continue its operations under its own brand name, highlighting that airline's survival and success would hinge upon its manpower which would be an asset to the new owner.

The government had on January 27 invited expressions of interest (EOI) for the sale of Air India, its subsidiary Air India Express along with a 50% stake sale in Air India SATS Airport Services Pvt Ltd, which is a joint venture (JV) between Air India and Singapore Airport Terminal Services.

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Allaying fears if the stake sale will be successful unlike the government's unlucky attempts in the past to dilute its stake in the national carrier, Puri said, "Don't be under the impression that there will be any problem. The amount of interest I am seeing (in Air India), I am reassured."

The airline currently has a strength of 9,426 permanent workers, 4,201 contractual employees and around 2,867 employees on deputation from other companies as on November 1.

Air India's net loss in 2018-19 is provisionally estimated to be Rs 8,556.35 crore.

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