Emphasise on work and not on petty courtesies, says Air India chief Ashwani Lohani

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NEW DELHI: Urging employees to do away with “petty courtesies”, Air India chief Ashwani Lohani has asked them to stop presenting him with bouquets and also ensure that minimal number of officials are present to see him off at airports.

Lohani, who will be completing one year at the helm this month, has emphasised that work should be the focus rather than petty courtesies.

The latest message comes less than two weeks after the airline barred its officials from using luxury cabs while travelling within the country.

Air India has been working on ways to revive the fortunes of the national carrier, reduce expenses and expand services.

In a communication to employees, Lohani said he has noticed that bouquets are invariably presented to him in his capacity as Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) in various functions as also whenever he visits a station or an office.

“I have also noticed a large number of staff waiting at the airports to receive me or see me off.”

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“This culture has to end. Emphasis in the organisation has to be on work and work alone and not on petty courtesies. While bouquets shall be a big no from now on, only minimal officials should receive or see me at the airports,” he said in the communication dated August 8.

Recently, Lohani had warned officials of serious action in case of any violation of his instructions on austerity measures.

“I have been repeatedly emphasising on economy, curbing of wasteful expenditure and maintaining immaculate conduct and behaviour,” he had said in a strongly-worded circular.

As per that circular, taxis hired for domestic travel should not be luxury vehicles while “crew hotels being fairly reasonable, officials shall invariably stay in the hotels only during official travel both within India and overseas.”

Air India is estimated to have posted an operating profit of Rs 8 crore in 2015-16, mainly helped by steep fall in jet fuel price, which accounts for over 40 per cent of an airline’s operating costs.

The carrier had incurred losses to the tune of Rs 5,859.91 crore in 2014-15.

Government in 2012 had provided a Rs 30,231 crore lifeline to the airline under a turnaround plan spread over a period of nine years.