Air India, which flourished for years as a patronage machine for a bloated workforce, assorted bureaucrats and sundry politicians, may soon be in a position to earn its keep and stop being a drain on taxpayers.
Admittedly still a beneficiary of the government’s infinite benevolence—no administration can ever really pull the plug on what is after all a national institution—the carrier is set to post an operating profit by the end of this fiscal.
The airline still has a mountain of debt, apart from accumulated losses, both of which amount to a total Rs32,000 crore, all of which Air India wants to liquidate by 2015. Five years may be too short a time for cleaning up the mess. While much more needs to be done, the newly appointed chief operating officer Gustav Baldauf may have some good news to announce when he turns in the airline’s earnings statement for the year.