Economy

There will not be any problem in Air India sell-off this time: Minister

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on February 17, 2020 Published on February 17, 2020

Hardeep Puri, Minister for Civil Aviation

Interests of employees will foremost, says Hardeep Singh Puri

Air India will be divested and, at the same time, the interests of its employees will be looked after, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Monday.

“Do not ever be under the impression that this time around there will be any problems (in the sale of Air India). There will not be (any). The interest I am seeing in the acquisition and the quarters I am seeing it (from)...I am reassured. The requirement of the staff and the important people who run it will be foremost,” Puri said.

He was speaking at an event held to hand over a letter of appreciation from the Prime Minister to the airline’s crew who operated two relief flights to Wuhan in China to bring back over 600 Indian and Maldivian citizens from the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.

‘Employees needed’

Puri pointed out that whichever entity acquires Air India will also need its employees. There has been no fresh recruitment at Air India for several years now, and hence there is no surplus staff, he added. “I don’t think anyone can run an airline without the people that actually make it,” Puri said.

He seemed to indicate that the Centre is yet to negotiate a lock-in period stipulating for how long the new owner will be required to retain the existing staff of the state-owned airline.

Observing that the strongest support that Air India and its employees have for the future comes from the government, the Minister said: “We not only want to keep Air India flying as a brand but we also want to ensure that its continued operations do not have the uncertainty of the last many years.”

Published on February 17, 2020
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