The Civil Aviation Ministry in India has approved Alliance Air plan to launch foreign operations by starting flights to Sri Lanka even as the airline’s parent Air India remains on top of the Government’s disinvestment agenda, IANS reported.
Official sources told IANS that the Indian Government has allowed Alliance Air to operate 7 flights a week from Chennai to Palaly and Batticaloa in Sri Lanka with its ATR 72-600 airplanes.
The Government has decided to sell Air India lock, stock and barrel and a ministerial panel headed by Home Minister Amit Shah is set to finalise the terms of bidding it out. The express of interest (EoI) could be invited by the end of October.
However the move to launch flights to Sri Lanka has triggered speculation among Air India employees that the Indian Government may continue in airline business by not selling Alliance Air. This runs counter to the government’s often repeated argument that “government has no business to be in airline business.”
“The move suggests government would not sell Alliance Air and continue in airline business. Alliance Air could be an “Indian Airlines” in the making. We are unable to understand then why Air India is being sold,” said an executive.
“Perhaps, it wants to keep an airline to serve political interests. Anyways, so many flights have been started after General Elections on recommendations of legislators,” he added.