It is hard to imagine a major airline with more problems than Air India. It has been grossly badly-managed by the government for decades and has lost money consistently. It is now as good as bankrupt, some of its senior staff face corruption allegations, it struggles to pay its staff on time, it has a bad reputation for service and serious safety issues. In short, a huge financial headache for the government.
So what is the solution? Easy – just sue Boeing for $1 billion.
Air India ordered 27 Boeing 787′s and delivery has been delayed due to the set-backs to Boeing’s development programme for the new aircraft. Compensation will no doubt be paid to airlines affected by the delays – but $1 billion is simply crazy.
This nonsense has not just been dreamt up by someone at Air India but is actually supported by the Indian government. In turn, the US government is using pressure to persuade the Indians to be more realistic.
Air India is already something of a laughing-stock so this affair probably cannot make matters worse. However, the Indian government is anxious to show the world that they are now a major economic force, not a poor developing country that needs aid at every turn. This case shows that the government has a very long way to go before it can be taken seriously.
Meanwhile, as we have long reminded readers of Inside Traveller, Air India is an airline to avoid.