Millennium Post

Revival package for Air India in final stages: Jayant Sinha

Kolkata: Union Minister of state for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said that the centre is working on a revival package for Air India with four elements which also includes financial assistance.

"Air India is poised to become a strong, vibrant and globally competitive airline. We are working on the revival package for Air India which is in its final stages. It will be made available as soon as the package is finalised," Sinha said on the sidelines of 187th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Calcutta Chamber of Commerce on Monday.

According to the minister, apart from financial assistance to support the airline, the ministry is taking a series of reforms for professionally managing the company, strategy to make it successful and competitive and also improve the conditions of the workforce.

Responding to a poser on any timeline for the revival package, the minister said, "The timeline is to do it as soon as possible. These are complicated and detailed work that we have to do," he said.

The minister also expressed his concern over the shortages of certain pilots- in- command (captains) for running specialized aircrafts which are in demand particularly after the union government launched the Udan scheme.

"In the year 2014, there were 67 airports and now it has gone up to 100. 33 airports have been opened in the last few years largely because of the Udan scheme.," he said adding that Rs 1 lakh crore of investments is in the pipeline for airports in the next five years.

When asked about the capacity expansion of the Kolkata airport or the option of a second airport to ease the load on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport, Sinha said, "We are working with the state (Bengal) government to work out possibilities of expanding the airport capacity in Kolkata and at the same time considering and evaluating suggestion for a second airport."

He added that around 1,000-hectare land is required for a large-scale international airport. " Air traffic in Kolkata and in the state is growing. We need to add significant capacity for an international airport here," he maintained.

On being asked whether the government is considering putting a cap on air-tickets as aviation turbine fuel price is rising, he said, "There is no proposal for any cap on the prices (air tickets). Under the deregulation, airlines are free to set the prices."

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