Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel told the Lok Sabha on Thursday that there was no proposal to disinvest in Air India or the Airports Authority of India. He added that a comprehensive restructuring plan for Air India was under formulation that would look in to fleet acquisition programme of the airline.
“There is no proposal for disinvestment for Air India or Airports Authority of India,” Patel said. “A comprehensive restructuring plan for Air India is under formulation. All such issues could be then decided,” he said in reply to a question if the fleet acquisition plan for the airline was being deferred in wake of the financial crisis that airline is going through now.
Speaking to reporters outside Parliament Patel said, Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata had not been spoken to, to head the “functional team and an independent board comprising top professional and business people” that will be put in place to revive the beleaguered airline.
“Ratan Tata has not been spoken to” Patel told Hindustan Times when asked if the Tata scion had accepted the offer to head the reconstruction committee that the government intends to put in place to get the airline out of financial ill health that it is currently in.
The airline will soon to start scouting for the best talent in the industry and plans to put out a global advertisement to find competent professionals who could turn the airline around.
The airlines’ finances are in such dire straits that for the first time since its inception in 1932, it has sought an equity infusion and a soft loan to tide over the crisis.
Air India, which was formed through a merger of international carrier Air India and domestic carrier Indian Airlines in 2007, has accumulated losses of over Rs 5,000 crore. Air India market share today stands at a mere 17.5 per cent.