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Air India to sell four aged freighter aircraft

New Delhi, Nov 18 (IANS) State-run national carrier Air India (AI) Thursday said its board of directors has approved the sale of four Airbus A310 freighter aircraft that are almost 20 years old.

‘These aircraft are nearly 20 years old and we will release crew and engineering manpower for the new type of fleet,’ said the company in a statement.

The statement further said that the directors took note of the software up-gradation programme SAP-ERP software application which would help in improving operational efficiency and productivity of the business processes.

According to an airline official, the agenda of the meeting was to accept the annual report for 2009-10 and discuss the financial results of the first half of the current fiscal.

‘We have reviewed the financial results of the airline and have taken that into consideration,’ said E.K. Bharath Bhushan, joint secretary and financial advisor in the civil aviation ministry.

The meeting was also attended by two independent directors including Amit Mitra, secretary general of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), and M.A. Yusuffal, managing director, Emke Group.

The other three independent directors — Anand Mahindra, vice-chairman and managing director of Mahindra & Mahindra, Industrialist Harsh Neotia, and Air Chief Marshal (retd) Fali H. Major — did not attend the meet.

There was speculation that the independent directors would raise the issue of the recent controversial hiring of three senior officers and shifting of the domestic operations to the Indira Gandhi International airport’s terminal-3 (T3).

On Nov 1, the independent directors had complained to the principal secretary to the Prime Minister T.K.A. Nair about AI’s chairman and managing director Arvind Jadhav’s style of functioning and said that they were kept in the dark about some high level recent appointments.

The directors had especially complained that they were ‘kept in the dark’ and misguided about the record of Pawan Arora, the new chief operating officer (COO) of the low-cost international service arm, AI Express.

Arora was earlier removed from key flight safety posts by the director general of civil aviation (DGCA) before he joined Air India.

The other contentious issue for the directors was the appointment of Stefan Sukumar as chief of training and Kamaljit Rattan as chief information officer.

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