Monday, March 7, 2011

Air India COO Baldauf resigns; carrier faces pilot strike

Air India COO Gustav Baldauf resigned last week after controversial comments produced on the Indian government's role in AI, in accordance with numerous news reports from India. The Austrian native, who became the first to preserve the COO title inside the airline's history once he joined last April, told The Indian Express in an job interview how the Indian government "should not be involved in day-to-day [AI] operations" and was "too prominent" in AI decision-making. According to the reports, airline management deemed the comments out of bounds for an Air India Airlines executive.

The departure from the COO is not the only sign of tumult at the struggling carrier—AI also faces a capacity strike by former Indian Airlines pilots set to start on March 9. In a letter to employees sent March 3, AI Chairman and MD Arvind Jadhav did not reference the COO's departure but expressed concern more than the looming strike by the Indian Commercial Pilots Assn.

"It is time for all of us to strive and work towards the a growth path which would take in the company out of its supply issues and strengthen the hands from the [Minister of Civil Aviation] to resolve various issues amicably," he said. He also cited the airline's progress in its restructuring and integration of Air India Airlines and Indian, for instance "making operational profits due to the fact November 2010."

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