The airline business makes money only for the aircraft manufacturers, airports, food suppliers…rarely for the airline.

This post is about the attitude of the employees of Jet airways, Kingfisher and Air India.

On my last trip when I was at the airport waiting to get into an aircraft…and could not find a newspaper..suddenly one of the girls came up with a newspaper. She need not have done it. It was Jet Airways.

Once while checking in at Chandigarh…I said there is a connecting flight from Delhi..but it has just a 10 minute gap. They ensured that I ran from one aircraft to another (which means I boarded the Del-Mum flight without security check)..The airline was Kingfisher. They need not have done it.

Sadly I have no such ‘Wow’ experience with other airlines. I also have some bad experiences with both Jet and Kingfisher.

However the attitude of the Air India staff is – ‘We do not care, GoI owes us a living’. The airline may not offer good services, may make losses, may do whatever it wants….but the GoI owes us a living. To say that the employees are responsible for the mess maybe wrong. However to blame the employees of Jet and Kingfisher is ALSO wrong.

Employees at Jet and Kf are subdued. They are getting their CVs drafted. They may leave the industry if they can. Obviously pilots have lesser choice than the others. They are not saying “If you do not pay we will quit”. Their HR may not mind that.

It must be tough for all the stakeholders – suppliers, management, passengers, employees and of course the government, but at least it is collective responsibility. It is also clear that getting into a financial mess is possible when you are in manufacturing or in the service sector or in any sector.

You can get into a mess whether you are the government or the private sector.

If you are in the government, the world owes you a living. If you are in the private sector, you owe your family a living.


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  1. It is the same for Telecom also. Equipment manufactureres, tower building owners, outsourced vendors, dealers, distributers,etc., all are making good money except the operator..

  2. In last decade I am lucky to work in two booming sectors abroad i.e. Gold mining and Oil & Gas. The companies have little control over the price of their products they produce and is largely dependent on trading platforms of Wall street.

    The price rise in Gold and O&G in the last decade barring couple of short term dips brought in huge cash pile to these industries. During good times, how they manage lays the foundation for long term. If company feels that these prices are sustainable and goes on rampage spending be it CAPEX, OPEX or Wages, we may well understand the risks and liabilities should the prices drop. The same is the story with scores of airlines who persued organic & inorganic growth with reckless speed. I still could not understand the reason why Jet airways chose to buy Sahara at whopping price and AI placed a massive orders with Boeing.

  3. ” If you are in the government, the world owes you a living. .. ”

    Is BSNL another Air India in the making? I wonder…
    Recently, our landline was dead and it took BSNL a small matter of 3 weeks to correct it. Even at the time of correction, the lineman was extremely discourteous.

  4. Few years ago, a Pilot was considered as highly respected job.
    Reason for this was Fat salary. Off late there have been so much competition where in many private fligh training school.

    Salaries of pilot have reduced drastically. I would say it is the riskiest industry….

    Airhostess are a bit better as they can get on to some other jobs in some service industry.

    Infact Airline industry was never in great profit, yet was very glamorous for outsiders.

  5. “The airline business makes money only for the aircraft manufacturers, airports, food suppliers…rarely for the airline.”

    Most profitable for those who go for Business trips

  6. ‘We do not care, GoI owes us a living’.
    same the BSNL employees feel too. Recently shifted my home and went to BSNL customer care center to shift connection. At entrance saw an huge wallposter of employee union about one day strike against proposed VRS in BSNL. But it’s 3 weeks and I was asked go to three different offices/exchanges but still didn’t got the connection.

  7. Its the other way around , especially about Jet. Staff arrogance was exceeded only by their ignorance. Indian Airlines gave excellent service , food was always the best.
    Most important engineering was superb which in a business focussed on safety is the paramount criteria.
    Kingfisher early days was really good, too bad they got confused whether they were full service or no-frills.
    I never felt IA had a GoI owes us a living.

  8. I have never traveled by Air India. But I think even if the employees have that kind of attitude it might be because of the kind of passengers they get. All the VIPs and their band wagon of free riders. I believe they might be under too much stress with that kind of people. Also, too much of unions is a bad influence.

    But I agree with your comment that generally people in Govt. sector feel that the world owes them a living.


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