Friday, 28 December 2018

Cash strapped Air India grounds 15 aircraft due to lack of spares

Whilst the Indian aviation scene is undergoing somewhat of a turbulent period in recent times, it has been disclosed that the national carrier, Air India has been forced to ground 15 aircraft - due to lack of spares.

The news came from the Indian government, aviation minister Jayant Sinha said that at the start of December, 10 Airbus A320, 3 Boeing 777 and 2 brand new Boeing 787 aircraft were out of service, on the ground, "for want of engines and spares". There is no clear indication of when all the aeroplanes would be in a fully serviceable state and able to fly again. It is another blow for the troubled airline that has seen debts mount as competition increases and revenues shrink in the marketplace. 

The details of the grounded aircraft were revealed along with yet another supposed rescue package for the ailing carrier, which includes, shifting debts to a separate arm, a sale and leaseback on some aircraft, more fundamental cost-cutting exercise, more state investment and yet another attempted to sell off part of the airline. 

Many Indian aviation commentators believe that even if the carrier sells off all of its aircraft and takes them back on lease, the net income would not be sufficient to pay off the airlines debts and keep operating in its current state.

Meanwhile, the airline's Chairman and Managing Director, Pradeep Singh Kharola has sent a message to all of the carrier's staff asking for their help in turning the airline around. He asked them to optimise all possible utilisation of resources during this crucial time, saying 'We all have to tighten our belt, adopt strong fiscal discipline and streamline our functioning without compromising on our operational efficiency. At the same time, we need to generate revenue in every possible manner to stay afloat,' in the firm's in-house magazine.