Don't want Air India to become history: Gajapathi Raju

| Updated: May 26, 2017 00:09 IST

New Delhi [India], May 25 (ANI): Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju on Thursday asserted that there are no plans to privatise national carrier Air India at this point in time, and added that the goal for his ministry is to ensure its survival. Gajapathi Raju told ANI, "Nothing can be ruled out, want Air India to survive, priority will be that, don't want it to become history. We will like it to remain with us and work for Indian aviation." Raju reveated that Air India's finances are very bad, adding that the impoverished part of company has to go. He said, "We are looking at all alternatives to revive it." Talking about the growth of aviation in India, he said, "In these three years, we have come from the ninth position to third position in domestic growth and fourth in international growth." "These are both private and public sector. Together, we should keep this momentum going," he added. The state-owned airline has been plagued by reports of inefficiency and enormous losses for years. It received 4.5 billion dollar bail out from the government in 2012. The report, which the government will use to evaluate the progress of Air India's restructuring, says Air India failed to meet its cash-credit limits, leading to short-term loans rising to 145.51 billion rupees (2.18 billion dollars) as on March 31, 2016 against a target of 36.46 billion rupees. It said the airline should monetise more of its assets faster to reduce its debt burden and speed up the leasing of narrow-body aircraft to improve its performance. "The company, though aware of the shortage of narrow body aircraft as early as May 2010, delayed leasing of A-320 aircraft," the report said, referring to Airbus Group's narrow-body aircraft which is widely used in India. The privatisation proposal came on October 28, 2011, when a Group of Ministers in the UPA government sat down to decide Air India's fate and approve a bailout package for the carrier. (ANI)