Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 23 (Agencies): Air India should regain its past glory and become the face of the country in the international transport route, Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi on Sunday said.

"It is true that the private sector has emerged as a major player in the aviation sector. But Air India should be the face of the country in the international transport route. I am for regaining its past glory. That does not mean that I am underestimating private players," he said, speaking to reporters at a meet-the-press programme here.

Air India had to compete with private companies and should have more number of aircraft for its operations, he said.

He said complaints about excess fare being levied from Gulf bound travellers in the Air India Express during holidays would be examined.

"I have been talking with officials of Airlines in the last few days and discussions will also be held with employees, including pilots' associations and cabin crew in the next week," he said.

Complaints about Air India operations would be solved in no time, he said, adding that he wanted the co-operation of all sections of people to execute his new job.

He said the user fee proposed to be introduced in the coming new international terminal at Thiruvananthapuram would be decided after discussions with authorities concerned.

Ravi said the Air India-Indian Airlines merger had not gone on smoothly and corrective steps would be taken.

The Centre's open sky policy had attracted more travellers to the air route with budget airlines making an entry in the sector, the minister, who also holds the Overseas Indian Affairs portfolio, said.

A new Air India Express office would be set up in Kochi for the operations wing while the AIE engineering department would be in Thiruvananthapuram, he said.