Ravi suggests panel on AI wage structure disparity

Posted By: Pti
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New Delhi, Feb 18 (PTI) Problems relating to disparity inwage structure and seniority among employees of Air Indiaafter its merger with erstwhile Indian Airlines are likely tobe resolved by a panel chaired by a retired judge.

A suggestion that these issues be tackled in-depth by acommittee headed by a retired judge has been made by CivilAviation Minister Vayalar Ravi during his meetings withleaders of 14 unions of the state-run carrier.

"After a two-day meeting with all the employees'' unionsof Air India, I have suggested formation of a committee headedby a retired judge to resolve their issues relating to servicematter," Ravi said after inaugurating the CentenaryCelebration of Civil Aviation in India here.

The function marked the launch of the first commercialflight in India -- between Allahabad and Naini on February 18,1911, which delivered about 6,500 letters.

The Minister said the unions have agreed to cooperatewith the government to bring the national carrier out of red.

To questions on lack of manpower integration between thetwo erstwhile public sector airlines even after almost fouryears of their merger, Ravi acknowledged that there were "someproblems" but said "these can be resolved through talks".

Asked about charges that Air India had given away manyprofitable routes, both domestic and international, to privatecompetitors, he said it was "not the time to blame but to runthe institution and get out of the situation".

The Minister said more fund were needed to bring AirIndia out of red but refused to disclose the amount, saying hewould discuss the issue with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjeebefore taking a decision.

Inaugurating the celebrations, Ravi said there was aneed to redefine the parameter of safety and for this, theregulatory body -- Directorate General of Civil Aviation --would be restructured.

Maintaining that India was considered safest in thecivil aviation sector, he said the US Federal AviationAuthority recently called the country a role model for theAsia-Pacific region on aviation safety.

Terming aviation as a sunrise sector for the nationaleconomy, he said that every USD 100 spent brings USD 325 forthe economy and each of the 100 additional jobs created in airtransport result in 610 new jobs in the economy.

Noting that the number of planes in the country had grownfrom 100 to 435 in the last two decades, Ravi said this growthwould further accelerate and "we expect that in another decadeor so, India would have about 1,000 more planes and 500 morehelicopters".

He said the handling capacity of Indian airports hasrisen to 235 million people, which was "sufficient to fulfilour needs for the next few years". (more) PTI SMJ ARC

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