More freebies to retired babus of Air India
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Last Updated: Saturday, March 27, 2010, 20:31
New Delhi: In a move that will impose more burden on ailing Air India, the Civil Aviation Ministry has decided to give all its previous secretaries life-long free upgrades on air tickets to first class and access to lounges at any airport in the country.

The order, issued to Airports Authority of India, Bureau of Civil Aviation Security and the airlines, allows the retired bureaucrats and their immediate family free automatic upgrades to first class cabins on any Air-India flight.

Air India so far used to give these privileges to only those of its Chairmen or CMDs who had completed their tenure.

A former Chairman, P C Sen, who had not completed his full tenure, even moved court to get the facility but failed to get it, sources said.

Along with this latest order, the Ministry issued a list of 24 former secretaries who would be entitled to these facilities. The only former secretary still in service is Ashok Chawla who is now the Finance Secretary.

The difference between Economy and First Class tickets could be massive. While a Delhi-London economy class return ticket could range between Rs 50,000 and Rs 60,000, a First Class seat would cost around Rs two lakh.

Depending on availability of seats in First Class in a particular flight, these former officials would get the "facility of upgrades of tickets for self and immediate family for travel to the highest class available by Air India/Indian Airlines," the order said.

Under the order, the former bureaucrats would also be issued an Orange Security Pass which would give them privileges of protocol and escort services at any airport in India, including access to VIP lounges and VIP parking areas.

A Purple Security Pass would be issued to them for facilitation at Delhi airport.

The Orange Pass also allows its holder unrestricted access to any area inside the airport.

The Ministry asked the concerned agencies and airlines to "take initiative from your side to get necessary papers completed from the concerned dignitaries for issuing them necessary papers/parking labels, etc", the order said.

A Ministry official, requesting anonymity, said this was a courtesy being extended to former bureaucrats since most of them were aged and facilitation would help in removing their travel woes.


First Published: Saturday, March 27, 2010, 20:31

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