Beleaguered national carrier Air India (AI), battling a bleeding balance sheet and mounting debts, still manages to live up to its image of a Maharaja.
It is the only airline in the world that supplies each pilot with an individual copy of the Jeppesen Airway Manual, a very expensive navigation guide for aircrew.
The Jeppessen Manual costs around R70,000 per copy, with an additional R30,000 annual expense on subscribing for monthly updates.
All airlines have made it a practice to keep two copies of the manual in the cockpit, for the use of pilots. No airline supplies individual copies to its pilots.
Interestingly, even in AI, it is only the pilots of erstwhile Indian Airlines (pre-merger) get personal copies of these manuals. Pilots of the erstwhile AI, who operate the more demanding long-haul trans-Atlantic routes, make do with the cockpit copies of the manual.
“It is a complete waste in this age of electronic flight bag etc. AI should give up this habit and place just two manuals on board, just like all other airlines,” said aviation expert captain Mohan Ranganathan. “The blame is also with the operations management who are aware of this and, yet, continue the wasteful practice.”
AI did not offer comments for this report.
“It is strange that an airline which is not even able to pay its employees their salaries and is now monetising its assets to raise funds, is indulging in such excesses,” said a senior AI official, who did not wish to be named.