Pilots and staff urge Indian PM to not to sell Indian Airline

indica News Bureau-

Several employee unions of Air India wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding revival of India’s public air  transporter. Instead of putting it on the block, the unions have suggested the government to make Air India a board-managed company on the lines of L&T and ITC.

The letter has been sent to Home Minister Amit Shah, Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, Civil Aviation Secretary PS Kharola and Air India CMD Ashwani Lohani.

The employees fear that government is working on 100 per cent disinvestment of the public carrier, reported News 18 via PTI reported.

The government is making an all-out attempt to sell its entire 100 per cent stake in Air India. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has set March 31, 2020, as the deadline for Air India disinvestment.

Against the backdrop of disinvestment, seven employee groupings  — Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association, Indian Pilots’ Guild, Air Corporations Employees’ Union, All India Cabin Crew Association, Air India Employees’ Union, Indian Aircraft Technicians’ Association and All India Aircraft Engineers’ Association — said that the carrier can be turned around.

The letter said, “Air India has been reporting operational profit for as long as three years. Servicing the loans is a major challenge as the annual outgo is an upwards of Rs 4,000 crore,”.

Further, the unions said it is not true that the employees are to be blamed for the present situation. “Majority of Air India’s employees are highly competent and hardworking even to this day. Our national carrier has always been a promising one – minus the unfortunate decision makers of past governments – and can still run effectively with the presence of a strong leader and new policies,” they said.

As per official sources, the bidding process for the airline could start as early as next month with the Expression of Interest (EoI) document being in the final stages. Air India has been surviving on a Rs 30,000 crore bail-out package cleared by the UPA-II government.