On October 27—a day after Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel dumped Air
India for Jet Airways for his trip from London to Delhi due to flight delay—the CMDs of both Air India and Indian wrote a two-page letter to employees about the proposed merger of the two national carriers. The communication substantiated the government's resolve to stick to the deadline of March 31, 2007 for the merger and categorically ruled out any retrenchment of personnel. All eyes are now on the November 13 meeting of the group of ministers where Accenture, the consultant to the merger, would make a presentation. According to sources, Accenture—which has already submitted its preliminary report to Air India and the ministry of civil aviation— has suggested an integrated organisational structure, which will have a Group CMD with several special business units headed by an independent CEO who will report to the board. The organisational hierarchy would ensure uniformity in the reporting structure and authority commensurate with responsibility.
Vishwapati Trivedi, CMD, Indian, says the government plans to come out with a scheme for all employees. "I am sure the scheme will be acceptable because we are not going to do anything which hurts either of the airlines. There will be no rationalisation or load shedding of employees. I think we will probably need more people," he says.