Niti Aayog wants govt to put Air India up for sale

Air India bought 111 aircraft for about $10.8 billion a decade ago, which the CBI said was not value for money and landed the airline with major losses.

CITU said the Air India management should not be held responsible for "bungling and disastrous experiments by successive governments" which had left the national carrier, which was registering profits till 2007, debt-burden.

Speaking with The Economic Times, Air India Chairman, Ashwani Lohani, said that the merger had been a major contributor to the subsequent failure of Air India.

"Had the same magnanimity of writing off debt been offered to Air India, it could very well eliminate its huge accumulated losses substantially", Sen said in a statement.

"Concerns regarding potential difficulties of Indian Airlines in successfully funding the acquisition process with a positive net present value was raised within civil aviation ministry, but were ignored", said the FIR accessed by TOI.

Confirming that Niti Aayog has submitted a report, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said no option has been closed for the airline.

The government put Rs. 5,765 crore during the two years of 2015-17 and plans to put another Rs. 1,800 crore into Air India in the ongoing financial year as part of its turnaround plan for the airline. "Altogether, the privatisation is going to be bonanza of Rs 50,000 crore plus to the prospective private buyer, if the latest budgetary support and written off debt liability are taken together", he said.

In a panel discussion on Doordarshan earlier, Jaitley said he had first proposed disinvestment of Air India when he was in the A B Vajpayee Ministry.

The civil aviation ministry will come up with a roadmap for the rejuvenation of debt-laden Air India Ltd within the next three months, a government official said on Tuesday. A year later, Indian Airlines signed up for 43 planes from Airbus SE.

The probe agency has registered three FIRs and a preliminary enquiry (PE) to go into the controversial decisions made by the erstwhile UPA government with regard to the carriers, including surrender of profitable routes to favour private airlines. "It is not correct to see us as a domestic airline alone with 14% market share".

  • Zachary Reyes