Air India defended its free ticket practice and said the facility to employees is a practice followed by airlines across the world.
Even an IATA (International Air Transport Association) resolution provides for the same, Air India said in a statement here today.
"It is a practice which is followed by all airlines world over as per IATA resolutions. All airlines operating in India, including loss-making private ones also offer this facility to their employees," the Air India statement said.
It is not only Air India, but other transport organisations like Indian Railways and state government-run Road Transport Corporations offer free travel facilities to its employees, the airline said.
Stating that the facility is being given to the carrier's employees from inception, Air India said, "With the merger of both Air India and Indian Airlines into one entity, the old passage rules were modified and the new rationalised passage regulation put in place."
Also, whenever an Air India employee travels on 'Staff on Leave' (SOL) ticket, the travel is purely on 'subject to space available' basis, the statement said.
"Seat is given to an employee on vacation only if there are seats available after all paid passengers have been accepted," Air India said.
All employees have to pay all applicable government taxes in addition to a fixed fare per sector of travel, it said, adding the staff-on-leave tickets are not free.