Cash-strapped Air India (AI) seems to have learnt its lessons the hard way. The airline board has fixed a salary cap of Rs 1 crore for its new chief operating officer (COO).
The AI board, as reported by HT, had given its nod on September 15 to have COO's for AI and its low-cost international arm - AI Express.
The airline appears to be cautious after last year's goof-up when it hired four top executives for Rs 6-7 crore who either left or were sacked within months, leaving the airline's turnaround plan in disarray.
Gustav Baldauf, a foreigner, was appointed as COO for a package of Rs 3.1 crore. A COO for AI Express and chief of training were hired for around R1.5 crore each. This when the airline had no money to pay salaries to its 30,000 employees.
"The compensation is fairly decent. It is my belief that if somebody offers his services to AI, it will be more out of passion and for proving that he can help turnaround the airline rather than just for money consideration," said Jitender Bhargava, former executive director, AI.
"To get a really good aviation professional you have to pay that kind of money," said Captain Mohan Ranganathan, member, government committee, aviation safety. "AI needs someone who knows aviation and understands the aviation scene in India. It would be better to get someone from outside the airline or a former AI official who is operationally oriented."