Trade

During Flight, Pilots Cover Cockpit Windows With Newspaper

How to spice up a story on the fate of a state-owned airline in a modernizing economy?

Start with an anecdote like this:

When Bob Haygooni paid a midflight visit to a cockpit at his new employer, Air India, he was shocked. The pilots, he said, had completely covered the windows with newspaper to keep out the sun.

"All you had in the cockpit was this yellowish glow, as the light permeated the newspaper," Mr. Haygooni recalled, saying it was a visibility hazard he had never seen before in 30 years of flying.

But "this was a normal thing at Air India," said Mr. Haygooni, a former United Airlines pilot who flew for the Indian airline for 16 months. In April 2010, however, he decided that the paycheck was not worth his concerns over what he considered the government's haphazard approach to running its state-owned airline.

That's from an article this morning's NYT.

India has been opening up its economy for a long time now, and the article notes that several private airlines have grown more popular than Air India, which lost more than $1 billion last year.

The airline does "not make any compromises with maintenance and security," India's new civil aviation minister told the Times.

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