Monday, December 11, 2017

Why it makes sense to allow foreign players to bid for Air-India

The Air India divestment process is on the home stretch with EY, the consultants to the process already having made a presentation to the Aviation Ministry. While there is no decision yet on the roadmap ahead, a media report said that the government is contemplating allowing foreign airlines to bid for the national carrier.

The news has been enough to get the red flag atop the Air India building, with unions suddenly realizing that the airline is an asset which they can endlessly exploit, and not a liability.

Successive governments have failed to turn around the airline. A loss-making Air India with nearly Rs 50,000 crore of debt cannot be supported unendingly by taxpayer money. The airline needs to stand up on its own or be allowed to perish. The airline needs to be run like a business enterprise and not a social obligation.
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Having said that, Air India’s divestment needs to be evaluated from all its stakeholders’ viewpoints, namely, promoters, employees, customers and finally the company as an entity itself.
11/12/17 Shishir Asthana/Moneycontrol

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