More Than 1,600 Air India Employees Choose Voluntary Retirement


Air India’s voluntary retirement scheme has several takers with more than 1,600 people opting to go for it. The Tatas have been making significant changes within the airline, from fleet restructuring to employee and management reshuffling. The latest move will trim the carrier’s employee numbers even as it looks to hire more people for several departments.

The scheme

On June 1st, Air India rolled out a voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) for some of its permanent employees who have reached the age of 55 or have completed 20 years in the company. The scheme covered almost 3,000 employees and aimed to reduce the headcount of the workforce.


For some sections of employees, the age limit was also reduced to 40 years. These included some cabin crew and clerical employees. Pilots, however, were not included in this scheme.

Almost 3,000 AI employees were offered VRS in June. Photo: Boeing

Air India has over 10,000 employees, of which around 7,000 are permanent. Thousands are said to be retiring over the next five years. According to the disinvestment conditions, the Tata Group cannot lay off employees for one year from taking ownership and can offer VRS in the second year. Some unions have also been examining whether the current move violates the term of the sale or not.

Several choose early retirement

According to a report by Business Standard, more than 1,600 Air India employees have opted for the voluntary retirement scheme, comprising almost 23% of the 7,000 permanent employees. The number also adds up to nearly 57% of those eligible to take the offer.

Among those who have gone for VRF include cabin crew, peons, clerical assistants, housekeeping staff, and security guards. Those who chose the scheme until June end will get an additional ₹100,000 and the scheme will continue till July end. The report quotes an airline executive as saying,

“Most of those who are opting for VRS have around two to three years of their service period left. Functions of multiple departments like security driver or loader where Air India under the government had hired permanent staff are going to be outsourced. So, it is a good proposition for them.”

More than 1,600 employees have gone for early retirement at Air India. Photo: Airbus


Changes such as these were expected as Air India transitioned from being a state-run carrier to a private enterprise. For some employees, who have been working at AI for years, the new ownership also creates uncertainty as they witness a change in working culture and the hiring of new, younger employees.

The Business Standard reports a senior crew member stating that a change in working conditions has been stressful. The rest period between flights is at a minimum, and there is also apprehension that airline management will tighten body mass index norms. Some are worried about a possible transfer to Delhi.

The Tata Group is bringing about several changes in the working culture of the airline. Photo: Getty Images

But a former senior executive at the airline says that these changes are necessary and that a departure from the past will help Air India gain an edge over others airlines.

Indeed, from what we’ve seen in the last few months, the Tatas have been quite swift in introducing several changes as they look to grow the airline in the coming years.

What do you feel about the changes taking place within Air India? Please let us know in the comment section below.

Source: Business Standard


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