Air India, as a mark of gratitude for the services of soldiers on the 71st Independence Day, has declared that it will invite members of the Armed Forces to board its flights ahead of all other travellers. As per a mail by the Executive Director of Air India, the order has been implemented Independence Day onwards on all Air India flights.
Air India is the flag carrier airline of India. It is owned by Air India Limited, a government-owned enterprise, and operates a fleet of Airbus and Boeing aircraft serving 90 domestic and international destinations.
Air India is the largest international carrier out of India with an 18.6% market share. Over 60 international destinations are served by Air India across four continents. Additionally, the carrier is the third largest domestic airline in India in terms of passengers carried in 2017.
Air India executive director Sarabjot Singh Uberoi, through an email to the top officials on Monday informed the decision. “The Air India has decided to invite serving personnel from Army, Air Force and Navy to board their flight before other passengers, as a mark of gratitude”. The order has been implemented August 15 onwards in all of their flights.
The mail also categorically spelled out how pre-boarding announcements will be made from Tuesday. “Air India Star Alliance flight ___to ___is now ready for boarding through Gate No.___. We would like to invite serving members of our esteemed Armed Forces from Army, Air Force and Navy to board first,” reports sources.
Uberoi was quoted as saying, “Serving soldiers will be invited to board all Air India flights even before First Class and Business class travellers. The country is grateful to them for their services and this is our way of honouring the soldiers for their contribution to the Nation.”
“Air India has decided to salute the Indian Soldiers by the National Carrier’s unique initiative”, he said.
An Air India spokesperson confirmed the development and said that instructions for effective implementation of the initiative has been passed on to ground handling officers and staff at boarding gates as well to make sure there is strict compliance of the new order.
This has come just after the domestic carrier discontinued the provision of 50% concession for Army personnel booking tickets online. The airline stopped the provision of giving online concession to soldiers, making it mandatory for them to visit the booking office.
That order drew flak from some military circles. However, Air India had said the decision was taken to stop misuse of the provision of availing concessionary fares by travel agents.