Could Air India close?

Well, Indian newspaper headlines from last week might suggest that.

The first headline was “Air India only make money on two international routes”.

A few days later I spotted the following – “Air India to close loss-making routes”

Do the math as they say.

The new Indian government which was supposed to be aggressively pro-business and do away with cronyism seems to have been moving very slowly and much more gently than promised. Air India needs huge surgery and a very aggressive management prepared to almost start the airline from scratch.

Loss-making airlines that either are, or have been in state-ownership all have the same problems whether it is Air France, Alitalia or Thai, Malaysia Airlines and Air India – too many staff, poor quality staff, weak financial controls, too much political influence and either outright corruption or a softer form of “influence-peddling”. Cutting loss-making routes is not the answer. Instead, airlines in this position need to ask why other airlines are making money on the routes and they are not.

Airlines regularly trim a few routes from their schedules but if Air India does anything more than this, they are wasting their time. It would be like giving an elastoplast to someone with a severed artery.

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