Air India May Lose National Status

THE INDIAN Government is set to meet soon to decide if the beleaguered state-owned airline, Air India should retain its national carrier status.  It will also debate whether strategic disinvestment is the best course of action to help save the ailing airline, which is estimated to have accumulated Rs 7,200 crore ($1.62 billion) losses in 2009-10 alone.  With most of Air India’s losses stemming from 30 of its international routes, the group of ministers, chaired by the Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee, has recommended that it stops flying these services.  “This would change the character of Air India,” a government spokesperson said, adding that it would turn the company into a regional carrier.  The government has to decide if Air India continues to fly abroad or is restricted to domestic flights only.