A private Air India or a dead Air India?

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Published: November 27, 2019 3:58:34 PM

Running operations of loss-making Air India is difficult for the government without privatising the loss-making national carrier, Union Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Wednesday.

air india, aviation sectorEarlier, in a reply to a question in the Parliament, Aviation Minister said that an alternative mechanism on Air India has taken some decisions.

Keep running Air India operations is difficult for the government without privatising the loss-making national carrier, Union Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Wednesday. It comes days after finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the government is aiming to sell loss-making Air India by March next year. “If we don’t privatise Air India, where will we get the money from to operate it? Right now, Air India is a first class asset & we will get bidders if we sell it. And if we take ideological positions then it will be difficult to run it,” Hardeep Singh Puri told news agency ANI.

Earlier in the day, in a reply to a question in the Parliament, Aviation Minister said that an alternative mechanism on Air India has taken some decisions. The issue of inviting bids would arise only after process completion, he added. It is the second attempt by the government to go ahead with the privatisation of Air India. In June last year, the government called off the proposed sale of a 76 per cent stake in AI after no buyer showed interest. According to a media report, Air India is planning to offer job protection of a year to its 11,000 employees.

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Air India has not reported a profit in at least a decade. In FY16, the national carrier posted an operating profit of Rs 105 crore and reduced its net loss to Rs 3,837 crore compared with Rs 5,859 crore in FY15 and a whopping Rs 7,635-crore loss in FY19. Air India owns 70 planes, including wide-body Boeing 787-800 Dreamliners, and the remaining planes are on lease.

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