AI''s chief operating officer Capt Baldauf resigns

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New Delhi, Feb 28 (PTI) Air India''s Chief OperatingOfficer Capt Gustav Baldauf resigned today, days after beingserved a show cause notice over his reported remarks aboutpolitical interference in the airline''s day-to-day affairs.

Baldauf, who was served the notice on Wednesday, putin his papers this morning, an airline spokesperson told PTI.

The Austrian national, who earlier worked in seniorcapacities in several airlines including Jet Airways andAustrian Airlines, was asked to explain his statements that itwas a difficult environment to work as the government played"too prominent a role in the (airline''s) operations".

"When you call someone from outside, let him work. Thegovernment should control but let him work. It should not beinvolved in day-to-day operations", Baldauf was quoted assaying.

Following the remarks which the airline had takenserious note of, he had a meeting with Civil Aviation MinisterVayalar Ravi where the issue was understood to have figured.

Baldauf had also expressed annoyance at the removal ofCapt Pawan Arora as the COO of Air India Express, saying itwould affect the turnaround plan of the ailing nationalcarrier.

After Baldauf''s appointment last April, the Air IndiaBoard had appointed Arora as also Stefan Sukumar as the ChiefTraining Officer on a hefty pay package. Sukumar put in hispapers recently after the Directorate General of CivilAviation had raised objections to the status of license asCTO.

Baldauf was appointed at an annual salary package ofRs 3 crore with the mandate to implement Air India''sturnaround plan.

Taking a tough line, the Civil Aviation Minister hasmade it clear that the ministry would evaluate the performanceof Air India''s top management by carrying out theirperformance review on a regular basis.

With a market share of 15.8 per cent in January thisyear, down from 18 per cent in the same period last year, theflag carrier today stands at the fourth position after JetAirways, Kingfisher and budget carrier IndiGo.

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