several other private airlines which had closed shop in the early 90s.
He said private airlines also owe enormous dues to AAI.
CPI(M) MP Tapan Sen accused the government of performing "anti-national activities" by considering privatisation of Air India. "The UPA government is politically inclined to sell country," he charged.
After spending over Rs 5,000 crore to modernise about 40 airports, it is handing over the management of these airports to private parties on a revenue share basis.
So, by making any investment the private parties will earn profits and the government will get only a part of the revenue after spending so much money.
On AI, he said government was going in the same direction. First, you make it bleed and then you sell it off saying it is not performing, he said.
Both Raja and Sen said they will oppose such moves tooth and nail.
Denouncing the Civil Aviation Minister's statement, CPI(M)-affiliated trade union Centre of Indian Trade Union (CITU) reminded him that Air India belonged to the nation and was not the property of council of ministers.
"The Minister must note that the precarious financial situation of Air India today is the creation of reckless and irresponsible experiment of the merger of Air India and Indian Airlines by the Ministry and also the irresponsible decision to purchase aircraft without preparing for making use of them immediately after their arrival," CITU said in a statement.
It said any move for privatisation would be detrimental to the interest of the nation and called upon workers to unitedly protest against any step in that direction.