Air India bid process successful; employees seek dues, await revival
The government successfully managed to receive financial bid for the national carrier Air India, making the possibility of the airline getting privatised stronger. Tata Sons was among the bidders. While a section of the airline’s employees is eagerly awaiting its revival by the new owner, some others want their dues and arrears to be successfully cleared before the government concludes this process.
The government is seeking to sell 100% of its stake in the state-owned national airline, including Air India’s 100% shareholding in AI Express Ltd and 50% in Air India SATS Airport Services Private Ltd. As per the Air India expression of interest floated by department of investment and public asset management (Dipam) in January 2020, the airline has a total debt of ₹60,074 crore as of March 31.
“We are happy with the process of privitisation and that Tata Sons have bid for the airline. The old Air India was made by Mr Tata. Though our issues are still on, we are getting sorted. We have to wait and see what happens on matters of wages, medical and all those things that are pending, which our government has assured that they are looking into. However, taking over the airline by the new bidder will take time,” said a senior cabin crew of Air India.
If Tatas emerge successful, it will mark the return of Air India to the Tata fold after 67 years. The Tata Group founded Air India as Tata Airlines in October 1932 and the government nationalised the airline in 1953.
“We definitely intend to put our best foot forward and help the future owner bring Air India back to its former glory. We hope that the process will also enhance employees working conditions for a harmonious productive environment under the new owner,” said a committee member of the Indian Pilots’ Guild, airline’s Boeing pilots’ union.
A senior engineer of Air India said, “It is essential for the government to clear the dues of all the employees. The airline management has assured us to resolve all the matters before the airline is privatised. We are hoping for the best.”