My heart sank the other day when I received an unexpected call from Air India. Expecting bad news, I imagined that they were calling to tell me that my flight from Chicago to New Delhi of September 1 had been cancelled. Thankfully, the call was to let me know that instead of it being a non-stop flight, it would still be a direct flight but with a stopover in Frankfurt. It was a relief to know that at least I would eventually get there — barring any other changes — though late by a couple of hours.
I determined that I would avoid travelling by Air India. That airline is in trouble and it makes no sense to add its troubles to the usual uncertainties of travel. My travel plans are of little interest to you, no doubt, but what should bother you is why Air India exists at all as a public sector corporation. The Government has no business being in business, in any case, and even less being in the business of running an airline which is bleeding money.
Air India is losing money and it has nearly always lost money. That is not in itself exceptionable since corporations often fail to make a profit. The commercial airline industry taken as a whole has lost money over its entire existence. What is unacceptable is that Air India is losing money that India cannot afford, and that too without any compensating benefits to the country.