Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Air India's losses? Look at private airlines

The media has been going to town about Air India's losses. With their penchant for trivialising issues, they have been carrying stories about freebies offered by Air India to its staff and its politicians- as though that is why the airline is running up losses. (Do they private owners of companies do not milk them at shareholders' expense?).

Anyway, Air India's losses for 2013-14 of Rs 2012 crore and projected loss of around Rs 1000 crore for 2014-15 look modest compared to those at Jet Airways, as today's edit in BS makes clear. Jet's losses for the first three months of calender year 2014 are a staggering Rs 2153 crore! Spice Jet and Jet Lite both made losses of over Rs 300 crore in the same period. The problems have to do with traffic and revenues not measuring up to expectations in a highly capital-intensive business. Air India's problem is the large burden of debt accumulated because of a large fleet order placed at a time when there was irrational exuberance about the growth of air traffic. Operational efficiency at Air India is not the issue. Nor is public ownership.

If ownership is the issue, then should we consider nationalising Jet because of the losses it is running up?

1 comment:

Uday M Kiran said...

Rightly said,Sir.I always felt that Air India receives undue flak partly due to it being financed by the State.We have a disdain for everything that has something to do with the government.The ones with cudgels drawn out against it will be the first in line to board it considering the fares that it offers on some routes.