Wednesday, May 31, 2017

As speculations fly on Air India divestment, Aviation Minister says all options open on carrier

The Civil Aviation Ministry is keeping all options open on reviving Air India, Cabinet Minister P Ashok Gajapathi Raju said on Tuesday.

The Aviation Minister’s statement assumes significance on the back of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley recent remarks that the government was open to divesting its stake in the loss-making airline. Jaitley had said that if 86-87 percent of the market belonged to the private carriers, he saw no problem in 100 percent being run by it.

“Niti Aayog has suggested to make Air India strong and viable. All courses of action are being examined. We have not closed any option,” Raju said at a press conference held to enumerate the achievements of the first three years of the Narendra Modi government.

Air India has become a bottomless pit with thousands of crores of taxpayers’ money going into keeping the highly unionised airline afloat in the competitive sector. In such a scenario, selling the airline will not be an easy task for the government.