A 31-member parliamentary panel on Thursday slammed the government’s decision to merge state-run carriers Air India and Indian Airlines.
The panel suggested that the airline defer its aircraft acquisition programme to reduce the debt burden of the National Aviation Company of India, the holding company.
“The aircraft acquisition programmes of erstwhile Air India and Indian Airlines were finalised in haste,” the committee headed by Communist Party of India (M) leader Sitaram Yechury said in its report.
Questioning the fleet acquisition programme of the airline the committees said: “Reasons to go ahead with huge purchases by the ministry of civil aviation despite Air India and Indian Airlines not having the capacity to support it remains unknown to the committee.
“It therefore recommends that this aspect needs to be further probed to fix the responsibility of taking such an ambitious decision that has become a big financial burden.”
To help the airline out of the present financial situation, the committee has recommended the entire aircraft purchase of NACIL be funded by the government, and a soft loan given as a one-time measure, as other countries have done.