Privatization of Air India and Ajit Singh

Ajit Singh is talking about privatization of Air India. This is what he said in the interview:

Karan Thapar:Quite right, in retrospect we can say that it hasn’t worked out . Second even if after five years, the two airlines operate as separate entities under the single name. For instance you have two sets of pilot, you have two sets of cabin crew, you even have two directors of engineering. No real effort has been made over five years to implement the merger?

Ajit Singh: See, what I have come to know is about 70 per cent what should have happened in merger has taken place. ITs and many areas marketing force has been merge but that key area, different pilot cabin crew, engineers working on this to different airlines, HR area basically hasn’t yet been merged and that’s why the Dharmadhikari committee was appointed.

Karan Thapar:In which case minister, the obvious question is this. Do you believe the time has come for the Government of India, to boldly and bluntly say that our ultimate intention is to privatise Air India? And all the revival plans were putting in the place today, are with a view to eventual privatisation. Because the government has no business running an airline.
Ajit Singh: See, first we have to put Air India on right track, make it viable. And then when you look around you note the days of national carrier are gone. Any country you look at, those days when national carrier was reality, are no longer there. So those facts are with the government, we all know that but our priority was, our whole effort is to make Air India, a viable entity.

 It looks like he may have seen the hate mail on internet. Here is a glimpse:

I don`t understand why Air India still exists, when there are enough private airlines to do the job Just shut down the airline and dispose of all assets to repay government for all the taxpayer money these people have wasted over the years.”

It’s so distressing to witness this whirlpool of selfishness – the pilots, the management and the government, none seems to care about the plight of Air India I hope the airline is sold away – it’s the only way we can prevent crores and crores of tax payers’ money going down the drain.”

“The blame for this sorry state of affairs of AI rests squarely on the politicians and bureaucrats who have been milking the airlines and treating as their private taxi service. Employees not getting their due salaries on time and the government blames these vulnerable employees Handover the airlines to private sector and see the same enterprise with the same people turnaround in no time.”

Will privatisations help? It is anybody’s guess; Mallya’s Kingfisher Airways is nose-diving in a sea of red like a kingfisher bird nose-dives into waters.

Let us watch how the story unfolds. Let us see whether Ajit Singh is doing sabre-rattling or is he serious. With 71 pilots already out of jobs, pressure must be building up on pilots.

But the mood of the customer and tax payer is reflected in the comments. They want privatisation. 

If it happens, out goes Ajit Singh, the Aviation Minister, along with the pilots! Phew!!