Parliamentary body wants Air India to emulate private airlines

December 20th, 2008 - 9:32 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 20 (IANS) A parliamentary committee has recommended setting up a commission to study how private airlines operate to help the government-run Air India recoup its losses.”The findings of the study may be used for the improvement of the Nacil (the National Aviation Co of India Ltd),” the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture comprising 31 parliamentarians, said in its report tabled Friday.

Nacil runs Air India and the erstwhile Indian Airlines, now merged with the former.

The committee, chaired by Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Sitaram Yechury, referred to the deteriorating state of affairs at India’s flagship carrier but said it hoped that the airlines would regain its glory and “Maharaja” (emperor) status.

“The government may commission a study to know how the private airlines are functioning, their efficiency and customer service,” it added.

“The Nacil will soar to new heights by optimally utilising its manpower and available resources, which is not available with any of its private competitor,” the committee report said.

A senior Air India official told IANS that the airline has no information on any commission being set up to study how private airlines operate.

Air India has been losing market share consistently over the past six to seven months to private carriers like leader Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines.

According to figures released by the government last week, Jet Airways and its low-cost carrier JetLite has carved out a domestic market share of 26.7 percent, while Kingfisher Airlines commands 24.7 percent.

In contrast, Air India - once the leader - has a market share of only 18 percent and is reduced to competing with low-cost carriers like IndiGo Airlines, which has a market share of 14.7 percent.

But more alarmingly, Air India managed only 57.5 percent load on its domestic flights in November, while IndiGo boasted of 73 percent passenger load.

IndiGo Airlines has a fleet size of only 19 aircraft, while Air India operates 76 aircraft on domestic routes, apart from a fleet of 41 aircraft for international operations.

On the other hand, the two private carriers Jet Airways including Jetlite operates 111 aircraft, while Kingfisher, including its low cost carrier Deccan Aviation, flies 86 aircraft.

The civil aviation ministry is reported to have sought a Rs.25-billion (Rs.2,500-crore) bailout package for Nacil, which runs the ailing Air India.

Air India totted up losses of nearly Rs.40 billion (Rs.4,000 crore) during 2007-08, andits accumulated losses are expected to double in the current fiscal.

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