Fireworks are expected when the Air India (AI) board meets on Wednesday for the first time since November, when the board had, in a unanimous decision, decided to sack Pawan Arora as chief operating officer (COO) of AI Express.Civil aviation minister Praful Patel had even told the Parliament in December that Arora had been sacked.
However, over two months after the board decision, which was officially minuted and circulated to all members, Arora continues to be the COO of AI Express and to attend office.
Patel is likely to meet the airline’s independent directors who include former Air Chief Fali Major, FICCI secretary general Amit Mitra, Mahindra group vice chairman and managing director Anand Mahindra and industrialist Harsh Neotia ahead of the meeting.
The two government-appointed nominees on the AI board as well as the independent directors are likely to take on the airline management and question the delay in Arora’s dismissal.
The decision of the AI management to take on the government has surprised many. “The airline did not even reply to a note sent by the Ministry seeking the status of Arora. This is very unusual,” said a ministry official, who said Arora had the support of the top management.
The independent directors had earlier expressed displeasure with the working of the airline to the Prime Minister’s office.