Maharaja's denial: Never demanded government bail-out
CLAIMING that it has never asked for a bailout package from the government, cash-strapped flag carrier Air India on Friday (August 7) said it is aiming for a turnaround in the next three years on the back of various initiatives, including on-time performance and seamless connectivity.
"We have never written to the government for a bailout package. We have never talked of waiver of ATF charges, waiver of taxes, waiver of penalties," Air India Chairman-cum- Managing Director Arvind Jadhav told reporters in New Delhi.
His comments came a few days after private airlines demanded reduction of sales tax on jet fuel, cut in airport charges and had even threatened to go on strike on the issue.
He said the airline had sought equity infusion and also soft loan. Air India is talking with banks and financial institutions to convert its nearly $2.8bn (£1.67bn) high-cost debt into a low-cost one.
Jadhav said the company's all earlier acquisitions were done through internal resources and not by taxpayers money.
Hinting a turnaround in its working, Jadhav said " NACIL has to change the way its does business."
Giving a roadmap to recovery "in the next 36 months", Jadhav said, "In the next six months, my first priority will be on-time performance. Unless, the airline does not perform on-time no one will come to us."
Jadhav said the airline would be providing seamless connectivity to passengers by integrating domestic and international flights.
Any customer would not have to use more than one transit point to reach any place in the country, he said, adding "for this we have to manage the ground handling in such a way that transiting passenger does not take more than 20 minutes".
Redressing passengers grievances would be the top priority and "accountability would be pushed down the line."
The airline would phase out or return the leased old aircraft and acquire more fuel-efficient ones.
To restructure and streamline its business, Jadhav said the airline was looking at operating under four new verticals - cargo handling business, engineering, ground handling and airlines operations business.
In the recovery roadmap, Jadhav sought participation of the management, employees and media. "We are officially involving all the employees association in the roadmap to recovery." The carrier is trying to rationalise its manpower in accordance with DGCA regulations, he added.
Jadhav also said Air India was looking into options of route as well as capacity rationalisation.
He, however, said the carrier has not lost its loyal customers during the time of distress and in fact registered 8 per cent growth in passenger in the last three months.
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