AI, Indian losses for the fiscal may top Rs700cr

New Delhi: Civil aviation secretary, Ashok Chawla, has said that the pre-merger combined financial losses of Air India and Indian amounted to Rs700 crore for the financial year 2006-07. Losses for the financial year 2007-08, he said are expected to exceed even that figure.

Chawla was talking to reporters on the sidelines of an aviation summit organised by the Foundation for Aviation and Sustainable Tourism (FAST) here.

When queried on a reported offloading of 15-20% stake in the merged entity, Chawla said that the government was yet to take any decision on the matter. He pointed out that a decision of such a nature, in any case, had to be a cabinet decision, and further that Air India would have to turn around its performance and show improvement.

Chawla also pointed out that regulatory and investigative functions in the aviation sector should not be vested in the same body and that the government was considering the establishment of another body to oversee investigative functions in the sector.

He pointed out that the judge and the policeman ought not to be the same.

Currently, the directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA), the regulatory body in the aviation sector, (under the purview of the civil aviation ministry), is also responsible for investigating accidents, near-misses or other incidents affecting air safety in the aviation sector.

He said that the aviation sector in the country had experienced a staggering growth of 40%.