Ravi to examine whether AI withdrew routes to favour others

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Mumbai, Feb 16 (PTI) With Air India unions complainingthat flights from profitable routes have been withdrawn tofavour private competitors, Civil Aviation Minister VayalarRavi today said the issue would be looked into.

"I will look into the issue in due course," Ravi toldreporters after holding meetings with a section of Air India''sstaff unions.

Ravi said he has asked the list of such (cancelled)routes.

The Minister is here on a two-day visit to the city, hisfirst since taking charge of the Ministry last month.

His agenda is to interact with the unions, seek theirco-operation in Air India''s turnaround plan, as well as withthe airline''s senior management.

Ravi said employees and human integration would be thefirst priority while bringing the airline back intoprofitability.

"Mutual co-operation between management and unions arenot as per my expectations," he said.

Responding to a question on fund requirements to keep theairline afloat, the Minister said he has already taken up theissue with the Finance Minister.

Air India has so far received a total of Rs 2,000-croreas equity in two tranches. It is understood that the CivilAviation Ministry has sought another Rs 2,000-crore in thenext financial year.

When reminded that Air India had earlier sought a bail-out package of Rs 10,000-crore, Ravi said "it may be more."

On the turnaround plan, Ravi claimed almost 65 per centof it has already been implemented.

Issues such as salaries, route rationalisation andcancellation of many profitable routes have been the majorones highlighted by the unions, he said, adding "salary issueshave to be sorted out despite financial issues." PTI IAS JJ

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