Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Praful defends plane acquisition

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NEW DELHI: Praful Patel, who headed the civil aviation ministry in the UPA-I government, has defended the decision to acquire 111 planes for Air India, saying there was no other way for the airline to compete internationally at that time.

“In 2004, Air India and Indian Airlines had 93 aircraft, most of which were 20 years old. There was no way the airline could have withstood the global competition with these planes,” Patel, who is now the heavy industries minister in UPA-II, told reporters here.

His comments came soon after the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) questioned the civil aviation ministry’s decision to acquire 111 planes for Air India through debt, calling it “a recipe for disaster”.

Terming the move for acquiring a “large number” of planes as “risky”, CAG said the aircraft acquisition had “contributed predominantly” to the airline’s massive debt liability of Rs 38,423 crore as on March 31 last year. (PTI)

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