- The government tried to take an exit in the last term from the airline but failed to get a buyer forcing to delay the plans.
- AI board along with the chairman Ashwani Lohani are expected to meet all the 13 unions Monday.
According to sources, reacting immediately on the government’s second attempt to offload the financially- dead national air carrier Air India, it’s head Ashwani Lohani has called for a meeting of all 13 unions to discuss the terms of privatization on Monday.
With Finance Minister stating in her budget speech that the government will go ahead with privatization of the flag carrier and has allocated Rs. 1 lakh from the budget which is very less amount given the debts, Air India is facing.
The government tried to take an exit in the last term from the airline but failed to get a buyer forcing to delay the plans.
The budget shows the intent of sale
During the budget, Finance minister Nirmala Sitaharaman said, “in view of the current macroeconomic parameters, the government along with re-initiating the process of strategic disinvestment of the national air carrier will also offer more central enterprises for participation in the private sector.”
AI board along with the chairman Ashwani Lohani are expected to meet all the 13 unions Monday, the source added.
These unions consist of Air Corporation Employees Union, Air India Employees Union, Indian Airlines Technicians Association, All-India Aircraft Engineers Association, Indian Commercial Pilots Association, Indian Pilots Guild, Air India Aircraft Engineers Association, Air India Cabin Crew Association, Aviation Industry Employees Guild, All-India Service Engineers Association, Air India Engineers Association and United Air India Officers Association.
This meeting is of great significance considering that a lot of unions among these 13 have opposed the sale of the airline previously.
AI had received ₹3,975 crore from government as equity infusion last fiscal, as per the documents.
The unions of the airline have always been opposing any kind of bid to sell the airline saying that privatization is not a solution as seen in the cases of Kingfisher and Jet Airways.
A union leader had said, “Kingfisher folded up first, and now it’s Jet Airways. The advocates of privatization both in government and outside need to understand it can’t alone bring profitability and efficiency in the airline business.”
As many as six airlines, all private, including Jet, Air Pegasus, Air Odisha, and Air Costa, have shut shops between 2014 and April 2019 for various reasons.
The budget presented in by the current government clearly shows the intent to sell the national air carrier. With the debts rising, the government is looking for new buyers to invest in it. We can only hope to see the end of it in the best way.