The crucial Air India board meeting slated for November 11, wherein the fate of some recently hired senior executives was to have been decided, has been postponed by a week.
An AI spokesperson said he was unaware of the decision to postpone the board meeting.
The decision, conveyed to board members late on Tuesday, was ostensibly taken, as the top management, including CMD Arvind Jadhav and COO Gustav Balduaf, were busy with the shifting of domestic operations to T3 at the Delhi airport.
"Shifting of operations was the first major challenge for Baldauf in which he has completely failed," a civil aviation ministry official said. He wished to remain anonymous.
Many in the airline and ministry, however, believe that delaying the board meeting could be a tactic to "buy time" especially in view of last week's developments. AI's independent directors had in an unprecedented move met with Prime Minister's principal Secretary TKA Nair on November 1 to convey that they had lost confidence in the airline's current leadership and wanted Jadhav to go.
The directors had complained that they had been "misguided" and "kept in dark" about the previous record of Pawan Arora, the new COO of AI Express.
HT had first exposed the fact that the directorate general of civil aviation had removed Arora from key flight-safety posts (AI plum post for Capt with shaky past, October 22) including that of a test pilot and flight operations inspector.
Following the report, the ministry asked AI for a report on Arora's appointment. The AI management has also asked Arora to respond to the charges. The independent directors are also likely to meet the civil aviation minister this week.