Over 600 AI employees left company since 2009

New Delhi: Worried over their uncertain future and poor financial condition of Air India, over 600 employees of the national carrier have either resigned or taken voluntary retirement since 2009.

Twenty-four pilots and management pilots and 163 cabin crew and executive cabin crew have either resigned or taken VR since 2009, citing various reasons, a senior Air India official said.

Six engineers, including executive engineers, 171 executives and general category officers, 59 technicians and 201 general category employees have left the company, he said, adding that a total of 624 employees have either resigned or taken VR.

Currently, the employee strength of Air India is around 26,481, of which 1,439 are pilots and executive pilots, 1,419 are engineers and executive engineers, 5,064 executives and general category officers, 3,064 cabin crew and executive cabin crew, 3,351 technicians or service engineers and 12,146 general category employees.

223 employees resigned or took VR in 2011, 178 in 2010 and 128 in 2009. This year till May, 95 employees have left the company. Of these, 48 employees resigned, while 47 took VR, the official said.

Most of the pilots left the company in 2011, when they found their future "uncertain" in Air India as it was facing cash crunch and other human resources related issues after its merger with Indian Airlines in 2007.

Of the 223 employees who left the company during 2011, 92 resigned and 131 took VR.

In 2009, 61 employees resigned and 69 took VR, while in 2010 17 resigned and 118 took VRS.

With Air India having the highest aircraft to employee ratio of 1:258, it has launched a VR scheme for permanent and confirmed employees who are above 40 years of age and have rendered a continuous service of 15 years.

The VRS aims to target around 5,000 employees in a bid to rationalise manpower, as per the recommendation of Justice Dharmadhikari committee set up for merging of human resources, as part of its turnaround plan, for which Air India board has also given in-principle approval.