If one wants to get an inkling of the mess at Air India — the merged entity of the erstwhile Indian Airlines and Air-India — do not go to the annual reports. Clever accounting fiddles like sale and leaseback of six A310 aircraft, inflated rental incomes, deferred tax benefits, and capitalisation of maintenance expenditure, to name a few, make financial transparency a laughable matter.
But the statements of the Union ministers of civil aviation in 2010 and 2011 show that the situation at Air India is critical. So do the revelations by Jitender Bhargava, former executive director, Air India, in his recently released book ‘The Descent of Air India’ and at his talk at the book-launch event organised by Moneylife Foundation. Both tell of how the airline today is awash in debt (see table) and needs an urgent injection of Rs 30,000 crore just to stay afloat.
While several acts of commission and omission can be attributed to the decline of Air India, two factors contributed the most.
Full report here DNA