In George’s Point of View
Russi Mody who ran Air India in 1993 resigned because his grand plan for Air India was strangled by red-tape and government intervention. Mody’s famous last words condemn Air India’s “lack of talent and the complete absence of an incentive and accountability culture. There is no punishment, no reward, no participation and the horse and the donkey are treated alike.”
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
It looks like the Air India tradition is continuing. Air India has booted out Chairman and Managing Director Arvind Jadhav, and booted in Rohit Nandan. Jadhav had only been there since May 2009, his tenure lasting a year before and after the May 22 Air India Express Flight 812 crash in Mangalore, where the plane touched down 300 feet past the touch down zone on a “tabletop” runway which demands a very precise approach. One might say that Air India Express Flight 812 did not make a precise approach.
Hopefully Rohit Nandan will be able to assist Air India to straighten out its troubled finances, with debt over 42570 crore, and losses of 22,000 crore. They say he’s there for damage control, because the damage has already happened.
Air India paid its April and May wages on June 28 and incentive pay has yet to be paid. The Indian government is infusing money into the airline (currently a 5,000 bailout with more to come.)
Nandan is hoping to turn around the airline and make it profitable, with the government’s help.
We’re skeptical, but we hope he can fix things, because we’re concerned for the victims of the Mangalore crash back in May 22 2010.
The Kerala High Court upheld the rules of the Montreal Convention, and directed Air India to pay 75 lakhs as compensation to the families victim of that crash, but the airline has not abided by the directive and is considering a fight in court.
I know that no one has gotten anything yet; but families should know that in most cases the value of the case is much higher than 75 lakhs, pursuant to Tier II of the Montreal Treaty. I’m not a lawyer but I know how it works from experience over the many years I have been working with wrongful death cases, and based on the experience my aviation experts have graciously passed on to me. If you can prove provable damages then Tier II (referred to in Article 21(2) of the Montreal Convention) Air India Express is liable to families/passengers for all personal injury or wrongful death damages exceeding 100,000 Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), unless the carrier(s) can prove that the injuries or deaths were not due to the negligence or other wrongful act or omission of the carrier or it servants or agents. OR the injuries or deaths were solely due to the negligence or other wrongful act or omission of a third party.
My guess is that the carrier will never prove this and the burden of proof is on them. If I am correct, and know the experts who have taught me, are correct…
Air India Express is liable to the victims families for all damages under the applicable law, including but not limited to, pain & suffering of your loved one prior to death.
They are liable for pain and suffering of the survivors and heirs of the victims.
Air India Express is liable for the loss of support, i.e., money.
Air India is liable for the loss and enjoyment of life of the victim.
I could go on but I will stop here, and caution the families to please be very careful. Don’t give up all that you may have coming in return for even a payment of the 75 lakhs that at this point, the company is appealing. If they actually get around to offering it to you, to get it, it means you have to give up all your rights to future claims.
This is not a cold corporate issue. These are families involved, the struggling families of the 158 people killed aboard the death-bound Mangalore Air India Express Flight. Families struggling now to make ends meet, and dealing with the loss of fathers, mothers, children. Let us hope these once broken homes are not twice made victims by being taken advantage of, instead of getting the support that anyone with a heart knows they deserve.
Air India’s lack of talent lost a whole lot more than money. It lost 158 lives, and seems to be doing its best to destroy the families, first with the crash, now by neglect, and maybe soon by legislation. The families are now floundering for a year in grief, wrestling to keep their head above water, while corporate heads are pinching pennies, playing corporate musical chairs, and playing a blame game over disastrous policies. They deserve better.