General Motors Co. (GM) has got out of Chapter 11 protection in a mere 40 days. Although the ailing auto maker still has many rough patches to negotiate, it seems to have avoided closure for now. The company took a lot of tough decisions to pull back from the brink so soon: restructuring debt, cutting the workforce, selling many parts of the business and reducing the dealer network.
GM’s initial success should offer a lot of lessons to the team that is now trying to prevent a bloated and inefficient Air India from a fatal crash-landing. Arvind Jadhav, chairman and managing director of National Aviation Co. of India Ltd, the state-run firm that operates the bleeding national carrier, has already done well to tell employees the harsh truth. The move to bring in outside directors to help him restructure the firm is also a good idea.
But the GM revival shows that hard talk or outside expertise alone will not do the trick. Both the government and the unions will have to recognize that Air India needs job layoffs, financial restructuring and a hard look at the business model.