Monday, September 24, 2012

Exclusive! Opinion- Air India Engineers Desolate

Does anybody care anymore? 

From an AI engineer's point of view

Neelam Mathews
Sept 24, 2012

There is little doubt  there is dissatisfaction among the ranks of the erstwhile Air India and Indian Airlines engineers, upset with the formation of the MRO subsidiary for which they were not consulted nor made aware of where they would stand in seniority.

Like it or not, this could become a safety issue.

Interestingly, most of the engineers we spoke to, had little confidence the AI MRO would make money “especially with the high taxes “and the incapable Air India Engineering Management.” “Unless the MRO is handed over to a professional management, it will not be able to breakeven even after 10 years,” moans an engineer.

VRS is not applicable for licensed category of employees like AMEs. There is trepidation that while the government  has promised to protect salaries and extend financial support to the MRO for the first three years, the subsidiary will have to stand on its own following the completion period. AI has not provided any guarantee of business.

One wonders what the logic of starting a subsidiary then, is, given that ‘C’ checks are cheaper abroad and India has a lopsided tax policy that ensures work go outside the country! A concern is the AI management will justify sending aircraft to foreign MROs than giving them to its own company. How does it expect in that case, to get maintenance contracts from foreign companies, that it has so loudly proclaimed?

 An engineer claims: "As it is, our maintenance is sub-standard compared to foreign airlines due to lack of spares and tools. DGCA is not in a position to monitor performance of our department due to shortage of manpower." Is anybody listening?

IA has maintenance facilities at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Hyderabad for carrying out major checks on A-320s which are underutilized. AI has facilities for Boeing aircraft at Mumbai, Trivandrum, and shortly in Nagpur.

While this not Aerospace Diary’s opinion, we were told of internal corruption. An instance is the recent bid to outsource the CFM 56 engine maintenance the tender of which is to be opened on October 8. A buzz says it has already been decided the contract will be awarded to Snecma Morocco. 

                                               Which leads us to ask the question- (!)

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