Neither a bailout nor a waiver, just a 36-month turnaround plan that will take Air India from survival to loss reduction, and then to profitable growth. Three-year plan
This is what Arvind Jadhav, the company’s chairman and managing director, told reporters on Friday.
Air India will also start a low-cost service from September.
“I haven’t written one letter (to the government) and neither have I asked for a bailout package,” he said.
“We haven’t asked for any waiver on taxes and penalty or this or that.”
The beleaguered national carrier is in talks with banks and financial institutions for converting its high-cost
Rs 11,000-crore debt into a low-cost one.
It is also looking at equity infusion and a soft loan to tide over its current crisis.
“The airline will start its domestic low-cost services from September and will have 27 per cent of our fleet on the least-profitable sectors,” Jadhav said in response to one of the problems (shift of consumers to low-cost airlines) the airline faces.
“The number of aircraft deployed for low-cost operations will increase to 75 per cent by the summer schedule beginning in April.”
The turnaround will not come without pain.
Apart from its improving on-time performance and delivering seamless connectivity, Jadhav hinted at cuts in perquisites and benefits enjoyed by employees. “The turnaround will hurt a lot of people, including me,” he said.
The airline has formed a restructuring committee, which also includes representatives from different unions. “We’ll fix accountability and if we receive a complaint from passengers, someone will have to be responsible,” he said.
While he ruled out any layoffs or voluntary retirement schemes, he said employees would be repositioned to understaffed areas.