Air India sell-off still stuck at the runway

By The Hindu businessline

Covid-19 has been instrumental in shutting down many a small, medium and large business for the simple reason that it had turned unprofitable to an extent that the losses became unsustainable.

Juxtapose this with the fact that Air India, the Indian flagship airline has been making losses since 2007 (when Air India and Indian Airlines merged); the current losses are more than ₹20 crore per day. This private shame of our national airline does not draw public attention commensurate with its enormity as the burden to the taxpayer is muffled in convoluted processes that do not have a direct bearing on his pocket.

The fundamental question here is: would Air India incur losses of ₹20 crore a day and yet continue to run if it were a privately owned entity?

Obviously, the answer is that it would have shut down a long time back. So why does it keep running? The first reason is that the government is willing to take the losses, buttressing Air India’s tottering finances with ill-deserved largesse — seemingly a reward for its inherent inefficiencies.

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