Saturday, October 1, 2022

Air India finances have plummeted to ‘precarious position’ due to Coronavirus: CMD

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  • Air India has diversified operations to engage the aircraft by operating quick turnaround cargo flights

  • Air India and Alliance Air have operated 102 cargo flights during the Coronavirus lockdown period to ferry essential medical supplies under Lifeline UDAN

New Delhi: State-run Air India, which is set to be sold off to a strategic player, may have been rescuing stranded citizens right from the hotspots of the Coronavirus pandemic across the globe, but internally, the crisis has also dealt a heavy blow to its financial condition. In an internal note addressed to employees, Air India CMD (Chairman and Managing Director) Rajiv Bansal has said that the airline, which was already going through a critical time financially, has seen its finances plummeting to a “precarious position” due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

“The crippling effect of the pandemic, especially in the aviation sector, has further plummeted our finances to a precarious position. In spite of this, your airline has left no stone unturned to continue to remain afloat,” Bansal said.

Air India has diversified ops to stay afloat during Coronavirus crisis

“As the airline is currently unable to utilise the fleet to operate commercial flights during the lockdown, it has diversified our operations to engage the aircraft by operating quick turnaround cargo flights,” Bansal said.

“In spite of constraints, Air India has mobilised all our available resources to operate 18 charter flights ferrying German, French, Irish and Canadian nationals stranded in India as requested by the embassies. Others were flown up to London, Heathrow. Earlier, it had operated a special charter flight from Delhi to Tel Aviv with Israeli nationals,” Bansal added.

Despite plummeting revenues, Air India has been carrying out relief ops

While acknowledging the team’s heroic efforts, Bansal said, “It gives me great pride to acknowledge your selfless contribution towards serving the cause of India and humanity at large during this global pandemic. Each and everyone of you has put in your might — braving the dark clouds of Coronavirus to breathe in new life and hope to overcome this gigantic challenge before us,” he said.

“Air India had spread its wings to stand by the nation in its hour of crisis, ever since we took off to evacuate Indians stranded at Wuhan, the epicentre of this dreaded disease on 31st January, 2020,” the note read.

Very few Air India employees have so far tested Coronavirus-positive

“Air India is amongst the very few airlines in the world, which is providing hazmat suits and other protective equipment for our crew to equip them to face any COVID-related safety concern on board. It is due to these precautionary measures that so far, only one of our crew members amongst so many, who have been flying our charter flights all over the world, has tested COVID positive. I am relieved to inform you that she has also been discharged after full recovery under the watchful eyes of our medical department,” the Air India CMD said.

The backdrop

Air India and Alliance Air have operated 102 cargo flights during the Coronavirus lockdown period to ferry essential medical supplies under Lifeline UDAN across the length and breadth of India, fresh data released by the Ministry of Civil Aviation on April 9 showed. Apart from cargo flights, the state-run airline undertook two rescue missions to Wuhan, followed by several other flights to Japan, Milan and Rome to bring back Indians stranded there.

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