Air India retains Capt R S Sandhu as Chief of Operations

The Tatas have retained Captain R S Sandhu as chief of operations of Air India, making him among the few top management people from the Maharaja’s government-owned days to be utilised for the big transformation under the new owners.

Captain Rajwinder Singh Sandhu will continue as Tata-owned Air India’s chief of operations. The airline on Tuesday, August 30 announced that Captain Sandhu will continue to lead as Chief of Operations till further notice.

According to an order issued then, Sandhu had been appointed as Director, Operations, of Air India for three years with effect from the date of his joining, or until disinvestment of Air India, or up to the date of superannuation, or until further orders, whichever was earlier. He was working as Executive Director in the same organisation.

Capt RS Sandhu retains as Chief of Operations for Air India.

His appointment for the role was cleared by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet in July 2020. This makes the 58-year-old pilot one among the few top management people from the carrier’s government-owned days to be retained for as Air India undergoes a big transformation under its new owners – the Tatas.

One of the senior-most pilots who fly the 787 Dreamliner, Captain Sandhu was nearing the airline’s retirement age of 58, however, he has been given an extension in the term following Air India’s recent decision to raise it 65 years.

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The Tata-owned carrier had recently decided to give an extension for another five years to select pilots. This was also given Air India’s expansion plans as it looks at widening its fleet.

This was also given Air India’s expansion plans as it looks at widening its fleet.

“Considering future expansion plans for our fleet, it is imperative to meet our workforce requirement for pilots,” S D Tripathi, Air India’s Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO), had said in a July 29 notice.

DGCA allows pilots to fly till the age of 65 years, compared to Air India’s retirement age of 58 years. Allowing pilots to fly till the age of 65 is a practice followed by most airlines in the industry.

To meet our requirement, it is proposed to retain our current trained pilots at Air India post-retirement on a contractual basis for 5 years extendable to 65 years, it added.

Air India’s load factor improves to 80% under Tata group management.

To grant an extension to pilots till the age of 65, Air India has introduced a screening process. “A committee comprising of the functional representatives of HR, operations and flight safety will be constituted to examine the eligibility of pilots retiring in the next two years,” according to the policy.

The committee will be responsible for reviewing the records of the pilots concerning discipline, flight safety and vigilance. Post the review, the committee will recommend shortlisted names to the CHRO for issuing post-retirement contracts.

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(With inputs from The Times of India)