Air India chief Ashwani Lohani has urged his employees to do away with “petty courtesies” in a compelling circular written to them, out of frustration with the grand receptions he receives at every airport along with the quintessential flower bouquets. This address comes less than two weeks after the airline barred its officials from using luxury cabs while travelling within the country.
“This culture has to end. Emphasis in the organisation has to be on work and work alone and not on petty courtesies. While bouquets shall be a big no from now on, only minimal officials should receive or see me at the airports,” he said.
The strongly worded circular dated August 8, was addressed to “all concerned” and Ashwani warned strict action against the officials of in case of any violations of his instructions.
“I have been repeatedly emphasising on economy, curbing of wasteful expenditure and maintaining immaculate conduct and behaviour,” he added.
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This circular came on the heels of the PMO asking Air India to improve its performance on all fronts after its review last month.
“Entertainment is definitely not for entertaining family and friends. It should be for strictly for official purposes and done judiciously. The official should maintain a record of who was entertained and in case of excessive expenditure, this record may be called for scrutiny,” it said.
DNA reports state that the airline’s Director-Finance has been asked by Ashwani to keep a tab on such expenses and bring any violations in this regard to his notice.
It is no secret that the airline is deeply in debt; in 2012, the government extended a Rs. 30,231 crore lifeline to the airline under a turnaround plan over a period of nine years. Under the guidance of Ashwani, who completed a year as the Air Chief last month, the airline managed to make a profit of Rs 8 crore. But, this could mainly be attributed to falling prices of jet fuel.
Regardless, it will be interesting to see whether such austere measures to prevent lavish spending will help the precarious financial situation of Air India