The current woes of the state-owned airline are being blamed, almost to the exclusion of everything else, on the shotgun wedding between Air India and Indian Airlines. The merger appears to have been unable to unify two seemingly irreconcilable cultures. Employees of the domestic airline, for instance, work a six-day week, while those on the international service have a five-day one. This puts the Indian Airlines workers in a better light, especially since the current strike seems to be aimed at keeping pilots from that service out of the Dreamliner cockpit.
Even the current civil aviation minister has been pointing at predecessor Praful Patel’s merger push as an ill-fated move. It hasn’t escaped notice that the leader of the union heading the strike belongs to the same party as Patel. Meanwhile, all taxpayers can do is watch despairingly as more of their money looks set to go down the drain.