City of Brass

City of Brass


after Mangalore, boycotting Air India

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

On Saturday, Air India Flight 812 crashed shortly after takeoff from the Mangalore airport, killing 160 people. The problem here is more than just one crash, but rather a systemic failure of Air India as an organization to sustain a professional business operation in the airline industry:

Air India, a former monopoly with an aging fleet and a poor on-time record, has struggled in recent years to compete with lower-cost private airlines as the industry has been deregulated. Air India Express, its low-cost arm, is part of its effort to respond to a changing competitive landscape as it struggles under a $3.3-billion debt load.

In October, the airline hit the headlines after pilots and a flight crew got into a fistfight in front of startled passengers.

The state-owned airline has had several mishaps over the years. Safety expert Mohan Ranganathan, a former Air India pilot, said recently that India badly needs an independent regulator and safety board.

In June 2008, Air India Flight IC-162 from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, overshot the Mumbai airport by 45 miles after its pilots fell asleep. They were jolted awake when air traffic controllers caused a loud buzzer to go off in the cockpit.

Flights from Dubai to other parts of India tend to be crowded with Indians returning from manual labor and service jobs in the Middle East, as well as with high-tech professionals and traders.

In essence, Air India exemplifies every bad stereotype about Indian corruption and incompetence. Having flown out of Mumbai in the past year, I can attest to the utter lack of professionalism and attention by the Indian airline industry.

I completely agree with Manish at Ultrabrown: Air India needs to die:

The best thing that could happen to Air India, a flag carrier treated as both sinecure and dumping ground by countless babus, is to get blacklisted internationally as an unsafe carrier. Because being banned from leaving the country might be the kick in the ass they need.

Air India needs to be taken private like Tata’s original airline. It needs to shed reams of unproductive employees and rebuild its training procedures from ground up. India as a whole needs an effective, independent aviation regulator.

Air India has a fatal accident-per-million-flights rate 12x higher than most U.S. airlines (list of incidents).

I will not fly Air India nor permit my family to fly it, ever again.



  • Ray

    Why are Islamist woman required to wear facial masks (Gurkas) in publick???

  • Steve Sandberg

    Good question, but what does it have to do with Air India?

  • Sha Razeek

    Hi Ray, I suppose this is the wrong place for that question. But since you asked it, I’ll answer it for you. Muslim women are NOT required to wear facial masks. Burkas (I think that’s what you meant by Gurkas), are a cultural thing that predates Islam and is only worn in certain countries. But some women wear it for modesty sake. Islam requires women to cover their hair in public (since that’s part of their sexuality), but not the face. Even this is not entirely a muslim concept. You might notice that catholic nuns, and women in Christian/Judaic history covered their hair and wore loose clothing to preserve their modesty.
    And on the Air India topic, I cannot agree more with Aziz.

  • http://www.travelsupermarket.co.za/flights-asia/flights-mumbai.html Mumbai flights

    What does that have to do with AirIndia in particular?

  • Lauflernwagen Haba

    Flights from Dubai to other parts of India tend to be crowded with Indians returning from manual labor and service jobs in the Middle East, as well as with high-tech professionals and traders.
    Lauflernwagen Haba

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