AI employees yet to join new engg arm, cite ambiguous rules

AI employees yet to join new engg arm, cite ambiguous rules Mumbai: Citing ambiguity in service rules, around 5,000 Air India employees have yet to accept their transfer orders to the newly-created subsidiary Air India Engineering Services (AIESL), which became functional from last Friday, sources said.

"The management had issued transfer orders to around 5,000 employees belonging to engineering services. However, they have yet to accept these orders, citing lack of clarity on service rules," Air India sources told PTI here.

The situation has become more challenging for the airline management as even the 1,000 non-technical staff, who were told to join AIES on deputation from February 1, have also not accepted the orders citing similar reasons, they said.

"There can't be two rules for one entity. This is ridiculous that while a majority of the engineering services employees have been transferred, almost 20 percent of them have been sent on deputation," they added.

The government should reconsider its decision and come out with a uniform policy for the entity, they said, adding, "we are not against all employees being sent on deputation on the lines of Air India Express".

National carrier Air India, as part of its financial and restructuring plan, has hived off its engineering and ground handling services into two wholly-owned subsidiaries-Air India Engineering Services and Air India Transport Services (AITSL) from February 1.

The hive-off also involves transferring 13,000 of the 25,000 Air India employees.
Airlines Engineering unit consists of core and non-core groups.

The core group which has been transferred to the subsidiary includes aircraft maintenance engineers, technical officers, service engineers and technicians.

There are around 1,500 aircraft maintenance engineers including the executive-level ones as well as around 3,000 service engineers with Air India.

Besides, the loss-making carrier also has 400 technical officer and support service engineers, the sources said, adding, "nearly 1,000 employees who have been sent on deputation include administrative, accounts, commercial staff among others".

As part of the hive-off plan, Air India would provide AIESL Rs 375 crore as capital expenditure over three years beginning now, while it would give Rs 393 crore over 12 years from this year to AITSL.

The proposal to hive off the engineering and ground handling departments of Air India to two wholly-owned subsidiaries was approved on April 12 last year by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs as part of the airline's turnaround and financial restructuring plans.

The two entities will be run by the Air India Board with the airline's CMD Rohit Nandan as the chairman of the two boards.

Air India director engineering K M Unni has been given the additional charge of AITSL while Vipin Sharma, who is currently director MRO, has been entrusted with the responsibility of running AIESL.

The two companies would not only carry out their activities for Air India but would also tap other carriers operating in India and tap the potential of nearly USD 1.5 billion maintenance, repair and overhaul business in the Asia-Pacific region.

Currently, a large number of domestic aeroplanes are sent to Singapore, Dubai or even Colombo for checks and repairs which would now on be done in the country.

PTI