New Delhi: In a letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Air India employees have sought a Rs 50,000-crore financial package for the state-run airline. "We request you to kindly grant Air India a financial package of Rs 50,000 crore which will go a long way in ensuring that Air India emerges as the strongest and best airline of India," a Joint Forum of Air India employees said in the letter. While asserting that the aviation industry is under severe stress, the forum has sought immediate intervention from the PM for the airline.
The government has already set the ball rolling on its plan to disinvest its 100 percent stake in Air India. It has already invited bids for the same and has also given potential bidders an extension for submitting bids in view of the COVID-19 situation. The letter comes in the backdrop of the government announcing a financial stimulus package of Rs 20 lakh crore for various sectors of the country.
While stating that Air India is a "necessity" for the country, especially in times of crises, the joint forum of Air India employees said that a financial package will not only help the flag carrier but also the entire aviation sector and the economy. The letter also said that Air India has once again played a crucial role for the nation by bringing back stranded Indians from all parts of the world, including several offline stations at a time when airlines all over the world had ceased operations due to the pandemic. The Joint Forum said that the carrier "even at peak of the COVID-19 pandemic operated flights to and from Wuhan which is the origin and centre point of the Coronavirus."
"Besides, Air India staff went out of the way at considerable "personal risk" to ensure smooth operations of several cargo and charter flights throughout this period, thereby facilitating the smooth movement of medicines and medical equipment between India and many other countries, including China," it said.
"We thank you for the financial package of Rs 20 lakh crore to boost the industry and the economy. As you will agree that civil aviation is of paramount importance in today's context and therefore it is extremely necessary to boost the aviation industry and restore normal operations at the earliest, which is crucial for the economy to stabilise," the letter said.