New Delhi: Air India on Saturday dismissed as fake a letter announcing that the airlines would be shut down by October this year, calling it a “false propaganda” hatched by “anti-nationals”.
In a tweet on Saturday, Air India said the “fake message masquerading as notification” was false.
“This is absolutely incorrect and false propaganda hatched with a malicious intent to create confusion and destabilise Air India just when our performance graph is rising,” the release read.
It added that such hoax messages should be ignored and strict legal action was being planned against perpetrators of such “anti-national” acts.
The clarification comes after a false notification dated August 25 said the airlines would be shut down this year. It had further asked employees to search for other jobs, causing panic and confusion.
The state-run carrier has been plagued by a string of problems, including delay in salaries to employees and burgeoning debt of more than Rs 48,000 crore. The government had tried to sell 76 per cent stake in the national carrier in May but failed to attract any buyer.
Civil aviation minister Suresh Prabhu had earlier said, “Air India is very clearly a legacy issue. Air India's debt is unsustainable. Forget Air India, nobody can handle that debt. For any airline to service that debt is not possible.”
High interest burden, increase in competition, high airport user charges, adverse impact of exchange rate variation and liberalised bilaterals to foreign carriers leading to excess capacity in the market are among the major reasons for the losses, according to the ministry.
A revival strategy is now being worked out as the government aims to make the airline "competitive" before making a fresh push for disinvestment.