Air India books ‘so bad’, don’t think anybody will buy it: Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju

"Air India books are so bad. I don't think that even if it is offered, anybody would come for it," Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said, ruling out disinvestment in the National carrier.

By: PTI | New Delhi | Updated: June 9, 2016 5:37 pm
Air India, Ashok Gajapathi Raju, air india Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Air India Debt, Air India civil Aviation minster, Air India 50,000 crore debt Air India’s “books are so bad” that nobody will buy it even if the government wanted to sell off the national carrier, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said.

Air India’s “books are so bad” that nobody will buy it even if the government wanted to sell off the national carrier, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said, on Thursday.

Ruling out disinvestment in the carrier that has a debt of some Rs 50,000 crore, Raju at the same time made it plain that the taxpayers’ money cannot be committed “for eternity”. “Its (Air India) books are so bad. I don’t think that even if it is offered, anybody would come for it,” he said.

Grappling with mounting debts and tough business conditions, Air India has been in the red since the merger of then Air India and Indian Airlines in 2007 and is staying afloat on a Rs 30,000-crore bailout package extended by the erstwhile UPA regime.

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Asserting that unlike others, he would not like to get into “Air India bashing”, the Minister also said that the carrier needs to function in a more cohesive manner to deliver on its turnaround goals. “It is a nice airline. I like Air India but I can’t commit taxpayers’ money for eternity. That is not done,” Raju told in an interview.

Buoyed by improving financial situation and high growth potential of the domestic aviation market, Air India is putting in plans to expand its fleet by adding another 100 aircraft in the next four years.

“My feeling is that the cohesiveness of the team has to increase and where they have worked as a team, they have delivered, and where they have not worked as a team, they have pulled in different sides. Nobody can put the clock back. The quicker they realise it the better,” he noted.

While there has been no official announcement so far, the airline has managed to eke out an operational profit of around Rs 6-8 crore in the previous financial year. “The fact that they have not made an operating loss speaks volumes,” Raju said.

Confident that the national airline has the capability of flying high, the Minister said it is working in that direction and in a veiled reference to criticisms, emphasised that he does not like the idea of Air India “bashing”.

As per latest DGCA data, Air India ferried a total of 11.98 lakh passengers on its domestic network in April, cornering a market share of 15.1 per cent during this period.

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  1. अण्णाजी
    Jun 9, 2016 at 12:28 pm
    So far the logic was such that if there is a profitable route then airindia should hand it over to Kingfisher or indigo. I hope Mr Raju would change it.
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      anil
      Jun 9, 2016 at 1:16 pm
      First upon change the booking format for international flights. Very difficult to booking online. Needs to cross many questions. Kindly provided simple forma then one can do it within seconds.
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        arc
        Jun 9, 2016 at 11:53 am
        Is the govt paying for the Chaddi Chief Modi's numerous trips? Second question: Is Raju creating an environment to just shut AI or sell it chap to a friend?
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          Deshu
          Jun 9, 2016 at 1:25 pm
          There is no difference between UPA and NDA govt so far its policies towards Air India is concerned.The main problem with Air India's present condition of becoming a white elephant is only bad management and interference from Govt to get benefit for their political cles.Even its Union activities are also harming to it.Best way is now left to have a Private management as well as non interference in its administration. But it will never happen as any govt at centre treat it as its own Mumbai Taxi.
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            Avinash
            Jun 9, 2016 at 3:12 pm
            You are minister to fix the issue and not to curse it.lt;br/gt;Tell us what you have done to make it straight.
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