Friday, January 29, 2021

Air India Flying New Routes In Turbulent Times

Beleaguered national carrier Air India has added new routes to the United States, despite being on the verge of bankruptcy.

The airline is struggling with debt exceeding $8 billion and is on the government’s disinvestment list. Yet, in November, the airline started direct flights to San Francisco and Chicago from southern technology hubs Bengaluru and Hyderabad, respectively. The new flights come at a time when the airline industry as a whole is in a major slump during the pandemic.

“This actually gives me a mixed message,” said Shakti Lumba, a retired pilot and a former executive director at subsidiary Air India Express. “Is the government thinking back on the sale of Air India? Are they waiting for the Covid situation to settle down [and] then sell?”

India’s largest conglomerate, Tata Group, was among entities that submitted bids for the airline in December. The government had originally set Jan. 5 as the date when qualified bidders would be notified, but the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management has removed that deadline. When the government first invited bids for the airline in 2018, it received no responses.

Meanwhile, the airline is trying to raise as much as INR 225 crore ($30 million) through a short-term loan by Jan. 31 to refinance an earlier loan.

28/01/21 Tribune

To Read the News in full at Source, Click the Headline


Post a Comment