In an open letter to Air India's employees, the national carrier's CMD Ashwani Lohani has written about the government initiative towards disinvestment of Air India. In the letter, Lohani writes that Air India functions in a competitive environment, wherein the competitors are not constrained by procedures and restrictions placed financially and operationally.

Chairman and Managing Director Air India, Ashwani Lohani (C) stands with the pilots and crew members of an all-women Air India
Chairman and Managing Director Air India, Ashwani Lohani (C) stands with the pilots and crew members of an all-women Air India, Delhi - San Francisco - Delhi flight as they pose for a photograph during an event on the eve of International Women's Day in New Delhi on March 7, 2017. A non-stop all-women flight from Delhi to San Franscisco travelled via the Pacific Ocean and returned via the Atlantic Ocean, completing a round trip of the world with 16 crew members and 250 passengers on-board.MONEY SHARMA/AFP/Getty Images

Lohani has told the airline's staff that the management shares their concerns and is taking necessary steps to protect their interests, even as the employees' unions are planning to protest against the government's disinvestment move. While the government is planning to invite bids for the national carrier next month, its employee unions on Wednesday decided to oppose it, saying there is no clarity regarding salary arrears and pensions.


Ashwani Lohani letter

Lohani, in a communication to the employees on Thursday, said, "Air India, your very own national carrier, is easily the most well-known Indian brand across the globe. It is incumbent upon all of us together to ensure that the brand retains its sheen even in the present testing times."

He said it is natural that many employees would be concerned about the future in light of the disinvestment scenario as any change in ownership brings about changes in the work culture and environment.

"Kindly be rest assured that the management fully shares your concerns and is taking necessary steps to protect the genuine interests of all Air Indians," said the airline's chairman and managing director.

The government would be conducting roadshows at global financial centres like London and Singapore this month to entice investors for the disinvestment. Lohani said Air India has been going through an extremely stretched financial situation, primarily due to huge debt servicing liabilities that have been affecting the airline.

"It (disinvestment) may enable sustainability as well as help in attaining the full inherent potential of the national carrier, thereby also helping the nation in attaining its economic goals," he noted. "At this juncture, despite considerable constraints, it is essential that Air Indians as always continue to put in their best efforts in their area of responsibility," Lohani said.