AI Makes Rs 40 crore profit in first six months, says Hussain

Mumbai: Air India (AI) has made a profit of Rs 40 crore during the first six months of this fiscal and expects to touch Rs 100 crore by March 2003, says Civil Aviation Minister Syed Shahnawaz Hussain.

While many American and world airlines are still facing losses, AI has been able to turn around and is set to make a profit of Rs 100 crore, subject to prices of the aviation turbine fuel remaining stable, he says. AI is currently celebrating its 70th anniversary.

AI chairman and civil aviation ministry secretary K Roy Paul says talks are on to join a global alliance. “We had discussions with senior officials of Air France and British Airways. The fleet expansion plan of AI is on schedule and till a decision is taken the airline would continue to lease aircraft for expansion of services.“

On privatising five airports (New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Bangalore), Paul says the law ministry has given its opinion and it is in the final stages. “If it is not completed before March 2003, it would be done by the first quarter of the next fiscal.“

Hussain assures AI employees that there would be no retrenchment. “But you have to adopt a professional approach to improve the image of the 'Maharaja.' AI is one of the best public sector undertakings, and teamwork is essential to bring back the image of the airline.“