Friday, June 23, 2017

Air India debt unsustainable, should go to private hands: Niti Aayog

Air India should be privatised as its debt level is “simply not sustainable” and government action on the airline’s future course is likely within six months, Niti Aayog vice chairman Arvind Panagariya said today.
The government is looking at various options, including possible privatisation, to revive the loss-making national carrier and Tata group is believed to be interested in buying stake in Air India.
“I think really where Air India stands now, it is almost a matter of existence. The debt is already about Rs 52,000 crore (and) we are adding of Rs 4,000 crore debt every year so this is simply not sustainable,” Panagriya said.
In an interview to CNBC-TV18, he said: “In the end, I think the airline does need to go with management in the private hand.”
While discussions are going on to decide the future course of action for Air India, Niti Aayog has recommended complete privatisation of the airline.
Panagariya said further that something should be happening this year with respect to Air India.
“We are in June, so we have six months (more) this year. You know, actually something happens or not depends on buyers but from the government side, we should see some action in the next six months,” he added.
Noting that successive governments recognised the problems with the airline but failed to act on them, Panagariya said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is bolder and more decisive.
22/06/17 PTI/The Indian Express

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