Despite surviving on government bailouts, Air India wants to offer a section of its senior employees free passages for personal travel and has written to the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) on the issue.
These officers are posted to public sector Air India on deputation from other government departments. The change in the rule would allow the officers including even the chairman and managing director and joint managing director to avail free passages for themselves and their families when on a personal trip.
“Our request is backed by reasons. First, the finance ministry has removed free passages from the ‘perks’ category, hence, it is not perk anymore. Plus, free passages are a necessity for people working in the aviation sector, who travel a lot for official purposes,” said Nasir Ali, joint managing director of Air India.
The letter has been sent at a time when the national carrier is estimating a loss of Rs 3,900 crore in 2013-14, though, it is down from Rs 5,200 crore reported in 2012-13 and Rs 7,560 crore posted the year before. The airline also has a debt of Rs 35,000 crore on its books.
Ali further said that they have limited the number of free passes given to its employees at the senior-most grade to a maximum of 24. Junior officers on deputation will get at least 8 free passages under the revised Passage Entitlement-Vacation Travel limits.
According to the office order, top officers such as functional directors and joint managing directors are entitled to get 24 free tickets each year, deputy general managers and above get 20 passages.
Those in the category of assistant general managers (AGMs) and senior AGMs with less than 20 years of service can avail 12 such tickets and those above 20 years can get 16. The remaining staffers, who have put in between one and 20 years of service, are entitled to eight free tickets and 12 for those beyond 20 years.
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