New Delhi– Air India chief Ashwani Lohani said an incomplete Indian Airlines merger coupled with lack of leadership doubly jeopardised the national carrier.

“A merger that really never happened and in the process resulted in a chaotic situation is at the back of all ills that we are currently witness to,” said Lohani in a scathing blogpost about the 2007 merger between Air India and Indian Airlines.

Ashwani Lohani
Ashwani Lohani

Attributing the lack of leadership for the chaos, he said: “With almost everything in disarray, be it operations or engineering, public image or commercial, finance or even personnel, it was fairly obvious even to a novice like me that what this organisation indeed lacked was that one magical word ‘leadership’.”

He said an organisation is only as good or bad as the head honcho while everything else is merely a symptom.

According to the former senior Indian Railways officer, procrastination of late has become a specialised area for the airline though the market is there for the asking.

Praising the risk taking ability of successful Indian industrialists, Lohani said: “Our recent successes in all the new flights has strengthened my belief in the power of the gut and risk taking, an art in which all the successful industrialists of the nation have been excelling in since time immemorial. Yet we never learnt!”

He said that the organisation lost no opportunity in making Air India’s employees unhappy and found faults with them, which he could not understand.

Lohani said the airline turnaround is not an attempt but a foregone conclusion.

“The mess is by no stretch of imagination a minor one, yet it has to and shall be sorted out,” he added.