For 11 years, Air India has burnt a hole in taxpayer’s pocket, 25 fully-equipped hospitals could have been built with the money wasted in the airline.
For more than a decade, Air India has been reporting incremental losses. It converted from a profit-making to a loss-making entity in 2006-07 when it reported losses of ₹448 crore. In 2011-12, the net loss touched ₹7,560 crore. In the last two years, the losses have hovered around ₹3,900 crore. Measured in 2016-17 prices, the total accumulated losses of Air India equal ₹63,268* crore. For 11 years straight, the Airline has burnt a significant hole in taxpayer’s pocket.
The quantum of accumulated debt, inefficiencies, poor management, and enviable freebies to its employees of Air India manifests the government’s inability to run businesses. The opportunity costs of the loss to taxpayers are immense. Invested elsewhere, the loss could have provided –1. 25 fully-equipped hospitals in large cities in India with 200 beds each**
2. About 1,600 world-class schools catering to the needs of 32 lakh children
3. Nutritious food to 18 lakh people for a year
4. Over 3,000 km four-lane national highways
*According to Public Enterprises Survey Reports, Department of Public Enterprises, Ministry of Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises
**cost calculated as per the estimated provided by Apollo Hospitals and assuming that the average loss to the airline is ₹6,200 crore annually.