New Delhi: Air India’s chief operating officer Capt Gustav Baldauf resigned on Monday, days after being served a show cause notice over his reported remarks about political interference in the airline’s day-to-day affairs.
Baldauf, who was served the notice on Wednesday, put in his papers this morning, an airline spokesperson told the news agency.
The Austrian national, who earlier worked in senior capacities in several airlines including Jet Airways and Austrian Airlines, was asked to explain his statements that it was a difficult environment to work as the government played “too prominent a role in the (airline’s) operations”.
“When you call someone from outside, let him work. The government should control but let him work. It should not be involved in day-to-day operations”, Baldauf was quoted as saying.
Following the remarks which the airline had taken serious note of, he had a meeting with civil aviation minister Vayalar Ravi where the issue was understood to have figured.
Baldauf had also expressed annoyance at the removal of Capt Pawan Arora as the COO of Air India Express, saying it would affect the turnaround plan of the ailing national carrier.
After Baldauf’s appointment last April, the Air India Board had appointed Arora as also Stefan Sukumar as the chief training officer on a hefty pay package. Sukumar put in his papers recently after the directorate general of civil aviation had raised objections to the status of license as CTO.
Baldauf was appointed at an annual salary package of Rs3 crore with the mandate to implement Air India’s turnaround plan.
Taking a tough line, the civil aviation minister has made it clear that the ministry would evaluate the performance of Air India’s top management by carrying out their performance review on a regular basis.
With a market share of 15.8% in January this year, down from 18% in the same period last year, the flag carrier today stands at the fourth position after Jet Airways, Kingfisher and budget carrier IndiGo.