Sunday, 6 September 2009

Media on Air India vs Kingfisher

The recent engine-fire incident on the Tarmac in Mumbai was handled a little inappropriately by the media. All the passengers made it out safely and relatively unscathed. This was something that needed applause. As to whether the pilots and crew made some procedural errors during evacuation is something that merits internal investigation but not necessarily under the glare of the media. An incident like this re-validates the claim that Air India needs to upgrade it's fleet on a war footing.

Frankly, in an emergency, I would much rather have an air hostesses with 20 years experience than a high-school graduate more concerned about the length of her skirt.

What the media does need to pay attention to is what Aviation Industry experts are talking about globally. Some of the comments that they make about Kingfisher makes you want to roll on the floor and laugh. The experts have written of Kingfisher as a failure and have categorically labeled Mallaya as a beer baron who should not be allowed to come anywhere near an Airline company. The media has missed the signals on Kingfisher but continues to hound Air India.
Here is a sample of the Kingfisher reputation -- Kingfisher Airlines - Under the Influence? or Government moves to protect Air India.

Air India is an asset and it needs to provide connectivity to parts of this country that will never interest private players. They have a rich experience and like most large players in Aviation are facing some turbulence. Any moves to privatize Air India or dilute government ownership has to be questioned. Globally, most large players are getting through this period with the help of unions and government support. Why should Air India be any different?

If the management is able to get a grip and unions begin co-operating there is no-way that the turnaround will not happen. At this stage the only stakeholder group interested in the demise of Air India seems to be the Media. Now why is that the case?

The media however needs to be held accountable for manufacturing an incorrect story around procedural lapses. Such news stories do massive damage to an Airline, the media should have been applauding the Pilot, Crew, Fire Department and the ATC. I think the media has crossed the line again. Will the media be willing to say that KF is endangering passengers because it is not able to pay in time for it ground services and is cutting corners in the process?

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