Speaking at the India Today Conclave 2017 in Mumbai, Piyush Goyal, Minister of State with Independent Charge for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines said that every big country needs a national carrier.
Responding to a question regarding disinvestment of Air India, Goyal said that Air India played a key role in bringing Indians who were stuck in Yemen back to the country during Operation Rahat in 2015.
Hinting that the government has no plan to sell the national carrier, Goyal said none of the private airlines would agree to operate Haj flights to take muslim pilgrims to Mecca.
The minister also compared Haj flights by Air India as an example of 'Sabka saath, sabka vikas'.
Earlier, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said in a written reply in Lok Sabha Sabha that the government is not considering inducting banks as strategic investors in Air India or privatising the airline
Comptroller and Auditor General of India in a report earlier this month said that the government may need to reassess the amount of bailout funds given to Air India because the state-run carrier has breached loan limits set under a government restructuring plan, causing its finances to be squeezed.
Heavily-indebted Air India, which was bailed out in 2012 with $5.8 billion of government funding, saw its short-term loans rising to four times the limits laid down in its turnaround plan, the CAG said.
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