It is impossible to find anyone these days who has fond feelings for Air India. The tottering national carrier has not been a customer’s favourite for decades. Staff are never too far away from a strike or two. The distraught management struggles to keep planes in the air. While the government loses thousands of crores a year keeping the planes anywhere.
Yet, the airline is not without one constituency that loves it to bits: consultants. Ever since its troubles began, Air India has been a most generous patron of paid-for advice. Accenture, Booz and Co., NM Rothschild and Sons Ltd, McKinsey and Co., Simat Helliesen and Eichner Inc., Flugwerkzeuge Aviation Software GmbH, Sabre Holding Corp., SBI Capital Markets Ltd, and most recently Cato Partners have all been linked with assignments.
These consultants don’t come cheap. The Cato Partners image makeover proposal is estimated to cost more than Rs7 crore. Despite copious advice, Air India is haemorrhaging. Yet, the airline continues to depend on other people to solve its problems.