It didn’t come as a surprise to many when; pilots of Air India called for a sudden strike disrupting over 40 national and international flights. The national carrier was sure to meet with such a fate as the government, in spite of knowing the ground realities, is doing nothing to bail it out. Though the pilots returned to work after few hours of strike, it does not suggest that the problems facing Air India are over. This problem will come to an end only if the government decides to take some bold steps. The government till now was making excuses that there wasn’t an Aviation minister who could look into the problems of Air India. But with Ajit Singh taking charge as the Civil Aviation Minister the government can no more shield itself with such excuses. The strike called by the pilots goes on to show that the promises made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the eve of New Year of giving transparent and effective government were mere formality.  Nothing can be more laughable than the government expressing its helplessness over the nonpayment of salary to the pilots and pleading for a weeks’ time to pay them off. The statement made by Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh does not hold much significance when he says that the plight of the pilots over the nonpayment of the salary could be understood. If that is the case, then why didn’t the government realize it so far? Undoubtedly, the Air India pilots did have strong reasons to go on a strike; but they should have understood that flight disruption would leave the passengers in the lurch.

The Civil Aviation Minister’s assurance that he will meet the Finance Minister to find a solution to the problems Air India faces clearly indicates the lack of a vision of the Aviation Ministry in bailing out the national carrier.  It is strange that sometimes the government speaks of helping the airline and at times threatens to distance itself from the entire episode leaving the airline to survive on its own.  Why is the government so indecisive on the future of the Airline? If this is the case with the national carrier, how could the government even think of providing any kind of help to the private airlines specially the Kingfisher which is on the verge of bankruptcy? And if the government thinks of bailing out Air India, the private airlines will definitely have a reason to complain which under no circumstances would be termed as unfair. The entire aviation industry is in turmoil but the government is unable to provide any kind of assistance to the industry. If the government merely makes stopgap arrangements then its decision making capabilities would be questioned thereby putting the future of the airline in the dark.