Air India pilots back privatisation

TD Guest Writer

Guest Writers are not employed, compensated or governed by TD, opinions and statements are from the specific writer directly

Air India will face competition from Singapore Airlines this year
Air India will face competition from Singapore Airlines this year

Air India’s pilots have said they would not oppose the national carrier’s privatisation, as long as it is “done fairly”.

According to a letter sent to newly-elected Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, reported by the Economic Times, the Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (ICPA) said it is “not adverse to part or complete privatisation of the airline, if done fairly”.

ICPA general secretary Rishabh Kapur, to whom the letter was attributed, added that pilots want the end of “government interference” in the airline, “as it has been plagued by bad political decisions in the last decade”.

2014 is expected to be a big year for 72-year-old Air India, as it continues to reduce its losses and finally joins the Star Alliance, after a seven-year wait. It is also modernising its fleet with the arrival of more new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, and these facts could make it an attractive prospect for potential investors.

It will also face challenges however, with new competition in the form of SIA Tata Airlines and AirAsia India. At the end of 2013, Air India’s total debt was approximately INR472 billion (US$8.1bn).
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