Saturday, May 5, 2012

Air India lies and gives lame excuses in US

Fined by US for sloppy website, AI defence: our employee died
Smita Aggarwal : New Delhi, Sat May 05 2012, 02:16 hrs

Air India has become the first airline to be penalised under new US rules enhancing protection for air travel consumers. By its own admission, that’s because it couldn’t update its website as the employee managing the site had died.
The US Transportation Department’s order dated May 3, imposing a $80,000 penalty on Air India, says the airline had failed to post contingency plans for lengthy tarmac delays and customer service plans, including fees for optional services, on its website on the date under consideration (August 23, 2011).
AI argued that it had uploaded its tarmac delay and customer service plans, but “these apparently did not properly appear due to a technical problem”.
The delay in “fixing” this was due to the “unfortunate and unexpected death of the employee responsible for making the changes”, AI argued during the mitigation proceedings.
The defence cut no ice with the US Transporation Department, which has directed the carrier to pay half of its $80,000 fine within a month.
Foreign carriers operating to the US with at least one aircraft of 30 or more seats are required to adopt contingency plans for lengthy tarmac delays as well as customer service plans, and to post these on their websites.
Ironically, AI has one of the world’s highest aircraft to manpower ratios of 1:230, against the norm of 1:115. It has also been grappling with problems of “rationalising” its staff that numbers over 38,000.
AI said it would seek “corrective” action by paying half the penalty and seeking a waiver on the rest. AI has 10 days to file a review petition.
Comment: Air India ought to have been fined in our own country. Shame other nations have to do our job. Cheaters can never be winners!

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