- Air India chief breaks his silence after the Ravindra Gaikwad episode
- Ashwani Lohani to NDTV: We pushed for maximum action (against Mr Gaikwad)
- Ashwani Lohani says Air India is finalising 'No Fly list' guidelines
Even a month after the incident, Air India's 58-year-old chief, Ashwani Lohani has no hesitation in standing by his tough stance.
"Our employees are most important to me. I could get a sense from everyone that they were very, very upset and so we decided to file a police case... They are all feeling much better now,'' he told NDTV in an exclusive interview breaking his silence for the first time since the episode.
Asked how he gauged his employees' mood, and whether he had a townhall, he said, "I used to have town halls earlier, but it is my job to sense what everyone is feeling.''
This was not the first time Mr Lohani has taken such tough action.
In November 2015, months after he joined Air India, a YSR Congress lawmaker, Mithun Reddy, slapped a station manager in Tirupati. Then, Mr Lohani ensured that Mr Reddy didn't just face an FIR, he was also arrested.
Asked if it was because Mr Gaikwad's party, the Shiv Sena, had threatened to stop Air India flying out from the Mumbai airport, he said, "Not at all. It wasn't because of all this. You'll have to ask them".
Mr Lohani did clarify, however, that in the last instance, there was no flight ban. Did he have a word with other airlines like Indigo and Jet to implement the ban? "I don't want to go into the details, but I am happy that they all supported,'' he said.
The AI chief said they were finalising the guidelines for the 'No Fly list' for unruly passengers who would be fined Rs 15 lakh for delaying flights. "There can be no compromise on safety and situations like this (Gaikwad) undermines safety. What if this happened mid-air?'' he asked.
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