At a time when national carrier Air India is trying to cut costs to bring down expenses and come back from the brink of financial disaster, it will spend an additional Rs 1.7 crore to provide accommodation to crew members at lay-over stations — from where pilots and cabin crew go on an onward journey.
At Thiruvananthapuram, Air India had an agreement with a 4-star property — Hotel Uday Samundra, Kovalam — for the stay of pilots and cabin crew at a tariff of Rs 1,595 per room per night, for 135 weeks.
From August 1, they have shifted to the 5-star Hotel Leela, Kovalam. The cost of a room: Rs 4,200 per night.
Air India’s contract with Uday Samundra expired in June 2008. When the hotel asked for a 10 per cent hike in tariff, airline officials decided to shift to the Leela.
This comes less than a month after Air India chairman and managing director Arvind Jadhav announced a 36-month turnaround plan. This included “accountability, cost reduction and revenue generation”.
Air India has accumulated losses of Rs 7,200 crore, with debts to the tune of Rs 16,000 crore.