Rajya Sabha

December 6, 2019

Md Nadimul Haque speaks on the need to remember the importance of Air India on International Civil Aviation Day

Md Nadimul Haque speaks on the need to remember the importance of Air India on International Civil Aviation Day


December 7 is celebrated as International Civil Aviation Day. It has been so since 1994, when the International Civil Aviation Organisation decided to celebrate a day annually to recognise the importance of aviation, especially international air travel, for the social and economic development of the world. Studies show that every 100 rupees spent on air transport contributes to 325 rupees worth of benefits, and every 100 direct jobs in air transport result in 610 jobs in the economy as a whole.

In India, aviation is synonymous with our national carrier – Air India. Tracing its origins back to the early 1930s, Air India has and continues to connect India to the rest of the world. A pioneer in the field of aviation, Air India became the first Asian airlines to enter the Jet Age in 1960. Today, the carrier travels to over 100 destinations across five continents. Air India is currently the only Indian carrier that flies long-haul to international destinations and also operates several direct flights. If it is privatised, Indians will also be forced to opt for foreign carriers to travel abroad since many non-profitable routes might be shut down.

At the domestic level, Air India connects several remote locations that are not considered profitable by most airlines. Less profitable routes might be discontinued by profit-oriented private players. With the government planning to privatise Air India, many people living in hard to reach locations might have to forego their dreams of taking to the skies. Our crown jewel is being sold off at the expense of millions of such people who wished to fly.

Ironically, it was the BJP in 2013 who opposed the move to privatise Air India. Today, they are making the same mistake. And not to say that the Government owes Air India a whopping Rs 797.95 crore as of September 30, 2019, of which more than half is the amount outstanding for the prime minister’s travel.

We appeal to the Government to stop the process of privatisation and restore the faith of our people in The Maharajah.