Air India records profit for first time in almost a decade

New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaUpdated: Jan 31, 2017, 11:58 AM IST

Air India's total income has risen to over $3 billion this year. Photograph:(Getty)

Air India, a government-owned carrier, recorded profits for the first time in nine years, according to India's Economic Survey announced Tuesday (January 31).

This is the first time since Air India merged with Indian Airlines has the stricken carrier found itself in the green.

This year's 319-page Economic Survey mentioned that the national airline registered a Rs 105 crore (roughly $15.5 million) operating profit in 2015-16.

Air India had suffered Rs 2,636 crore net loss the previous year. But this year, the total income has risen to Rs 20,526 (over $3 billion).

The profit will be a shot in the arm for the Indian government as it pumps in Rs 3,000 crore every year to lift the sagging fortunes of the airline.

It has also thumbed its nose at critics who want government-owned institutions to be divested.

Buoyed by the showing, the report said: "Consider the civil aviation sector. Defying history, there is still the commitment to make the perennially unprofitable public sector airline ‘world class’."

It also said that privatisation was not the sole panacea to ailing firms owned by the government, saying that maximisation of profits cannot elcipse broader social good.