Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Air India was at its peak during the JRD Tata times: Jitendra Bhargava, Former ED, Air India

Amidst the talks of Air India's privatisation and the Tatas' taking charge of the company one more time, Jitendra Bhargava, Former ED, AI explains to ET the possible consequences of the airlines' ownership change.

Edited Excerpts:

The Tatas have recently evinced interest on buying Air India if it is indeed privatised. How could this re-write the landscape of the aviation industry?

It will be biggest and the best development that could happen for Air India. Now while the government has been on the move, Tatas acquiring will have less opposition from the employees as well because they all know that Tata had once owned the airline. Tatas also know the strengths of Air India because it is not a question of just the high debt and mounting losses of Air India but the assets that Air India have and in partnership with Singapore Airlines they will be able to harness the variousassets, ground handling business, engineering services, plus of course what you stated that they get on a platter a readymade international business and a huge network.

With all these things in view, it will be a fabulous development for Air India. Considering the mounting losses and the loss of image that Air India has suffered, it may be worthwhile for Government of India to financially hand over the duty to the Tatas. There has been a certain kind of a work mentality that has crept into Air India since the Tatas left, now this is one.

The other part being very clear that it is not the 51% or 100% equity that would matter, what matters is the professionalism because we should not be forgetting that even when Air India was at its peak during the JRD Tata times, it was a still a government airline. The only difference between then and now is that at that time it was being managed professionally which is not the case now. So the Tatas probably have to restart on the manpower front but otherwise it is the best development that one could have visualised of.
21/06/17 Economic Times