More than a half dozen Air India unions in a wholehearted appeal have urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stop disinvestment of the airline.
The unions which also include several Air India pilots have suggested the Centre to make the airline a board-managed company just like L&T and ITC.
In a joint letter by the Air India Unions, they urged the government saying, "Air India has been reporting operational profit for as long as three years. Servicing the loans is a major challenge as the annual outgo is upwards of Rs 4,000 crore. We urge the government to consider waiving off the credits and have the airline run by professional management."
The joint letter has been addressed to Home Minister Amit Shah, Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, Civil Aviation Secretary PS Kharola and Air India CMD Ashwani Lohani.
In their appeal, the unions have termed the airline a 'jewel' while expressing the concern that its disinvestment will lay heavy upon the hearts of the general public and be a severe blow to their national pride.
Indian Commercial Pilot's Association (ICPA), All India Cabin Crew Association and Indian Pilots' Guild are some of the unions which have made the appeal to the Prime Minister.
The government is making an all-out attempt to sell its entire 100 percent stake in Air India. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has set March 31, 2020 as the deadline for Air India disinvestment.
As per official sources, the bidding process for the airline could start as early as next month with the Expression of Interest (EoI) document being in the final stages.
Air India has been surviving on a Rs 30,000 crore bail-out package cleared by the UPA-II government.
(With inputs from IANS)