Source: News Bharati English01 Jun 2017 16:02:20

New Delhi, June 1: Centre will soon make a call on the privatisation of Air India. The loss-making enterprise is staying afloat on the 30,000 Crore rupees bailout package granted by the UPA govt. Faced with stiff competition, Air India, however, is working on plans to improve its financial position.

On Tuesday, the Civil Aviation Ministry said all possible alternatives are being considered to make Air India viable, even as it asserted that the clock cannot be put back on the Indian Airlines merger. Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha had said whatever that would be done for Air India will be in national interest.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had last week pitched for Air India's divestment saying it has a market share of 14 per cent whereas its debt is Rs 50,000 crore. Following this, the civil aviation ministry said it was looking at all possible alternatives to make the airline viable. The Cabinet is expected to take a call on privatising Air India soon.

NITI Aayog had earlier said that the taxpayers' money pumped into Air India could instead be used for health and education. Air India has been in the red since the merger with Indian Airlines. However, it posted an operational profit of Rs 105 crore on account of low fuel prices and increased passenger numbers in 2015-16.

Meanwhile, the Air India employees union today called the government's proposal to privatise the national carrier unilateral and arbitrary and threatened to launch a campaign to oppose the move.