Air India is a first-rate asset; many cos have shown interest, says Hardeep Singh Puri

Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of Civil Aviation of India, in conversation with ET NOW’s Ruchi Bhatia said sooner or later, we will get a grip on coronavirus, both in India and across the world,

While you have said that the decline in demand is due to changes in preferences, what are your comments on the economic numbers like manufacturing and other data? Looking at GDP numbers, many experts also believe that the economy has not bottomed out yet.

If you are talking about specific sectors, I am happy to discuss that with you. But when u talk about 4.7% or 5% (GDP growth), let us see what is happening across the globe. Look, a very easy way out for me would be to tell you that we have seen 11 years of growth and expansion and the current slowdown, if you call it a slowdown, could be cyclical or could be due to external factors, which is not as benign as earlier. But I am not doing that.

If you are an analyst and you look at our own figures… we are a $2.89 trillion economy. About half of the economy, in terms of exports and other remittances, come from abroad and clearly (any slowdown globally) will have an impact on the economy. You should consider what is happening across the globe in terms of growth in countries like Japan or the US or even countries in Europe. I will, with all humility, say that there are certain sectors that are crying for attention… It is not my case that the econ-omy is doing very well, but I am seeing green shoots of recovery in certain sectors.

How will coronavirus impact the industry and the aviation sector?
If you look at the aviation sector, everyone – airport operators, aircraft manufacturers and ancillary industry – laugh their way to the banks. But the airlines always lose money. So, the airlines face problems.

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