Air India continues to struggle

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has ordered the inspection of all 19 A319-100s operated by Air India. This circular was issued after the Indian DGCA found out, through a passenger’s complaint, that one of its planes had a broken panel that blocked access to the emergency exit. The complaint was submitted by a passenger who was travelling from Aizwal (India) to Kolkata (India) on one of their A319-100s.

Air India Boeing 747 registered VT-ESO landing at Mumbai International Airport. Photo by Karam Sodhi │ AeroNewsX
"As an immediate corrective action, an engineering order to inspect and rectify the defect has been issued for compliance. As a preventive action, all Airbus 319 aircraft will be inspected to ensure the secured and correct installation of the panel during major checks," the airline said in response to the DGCA's order.

In other Air India-related news, the Indian Government thinks the process of the privatisation of the national carrier might be stretched into FY2021. The government had started the process on 27 January, 2020 and had set 11 February, 2020 as the initial deadline to seek clarifications of terms of the sale. This was extended up till 6 March, 2020 and once again the government is expected to extend the date, this time till 11 March, 2020. These extensions will make the process of disinvestment take longer than expected. The Indian government which is keen to sell the debt laden carrier, has left no stone un-turned to attract buyers. The government has reduced Air India's debts to INR 23287 crore (roughly $32,26,463.45) from INR 60000 crore (roughly $600 billion). Indian Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri, who met the Air India’s employee union, assured them that the sale is being negotiated in such a way that the buyer will have to retain the employees of the airline for a certain time frame and assured them that they need not worry about any uncertainty regarding the privatisation of the national carrier.

Air India Boeing 787-8 registered VT-ANY pictured at London Heathrow Airport. Photo by Karam Sodhi │ AeroNewsX

In relief to some employees the Indian government has decided to cancel the proposed plan of disinvestment of Air India Transport Services Limited (AIATSL), It is a subsidiary of Air India which provides ground handling services and is fully owned by Air India. It is said to be one of the largest ground handling services in India with its active presence at more than 80 airports.

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