Acknowledging that the merger of Air India and Indian Airlines has not progressed as desired, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh has said some things had gone “seriously wrong” in the process.
“Obviously the merger didn’t go as planned, and there is something seriously gone wrong. My job is to see what is the current situation, learn from past mistakes and work to see that Air India succeeds,” he said in a television show.
“We all agree that the merger hasn’t progressed or happened as it should have. But at this point of time, we have to decide how to implement the Dharmadhikari report which takes care of most of these problems (integration of the human resources),” he told Karan Thapar in CNN-IBN’s ‘Devil’s Advocate’ programme.
Asked whether the airline management was not up to the mark in handling the challenge of merger, he said, “We are not here to indict the management, past or present. We are here discussing what the problems are with the airline. The merger didn’t take place, we know.”
On whether the government planned to privatise Air India, Singh said, the primary task was to put Air India on the right track and make it viable. “If you look around, the days of national carriers have gone. Any countries you look at, those days when a national carrier was a reality have gone. Those facts are before the government, our whole effort is to make Air India a viable entity.”
On being pressed further and asked whether the government was making Air India viable to privatise it, he said, “At this point of time, we are not looking at that (making viable for privatisation).”