Why do they need special clearance to do long hauls?
The main reason is the Govt Of India which still lives by the rules set by the angrez when they left. Protecting holy cow Air India at any cost is the name of the game.
The second is that Air India doesnt have the balls to face up to competition coming from within. Air India doesnt mind foreign carriers coming in and making all the moolah. It may not even have the aircraft to service all the routes the country is entitled to. But it will still throw a hissy fit every time IC
gets a favorable response for opening up a new route, the last time being HKG
! It is this kind of protectionism that has turned AI
into the sad picture that it is today. AI
has possibly the worst inflight product of any intl airline: No IFE, creaky aircraft and cabin crew more interested in pilfering items from aircraft than serving pax. It has no incentive to invest in improving: why should it when it has a protected market and even can lease out bilateral rights, which should be the property of the GoI.
The only solution is to liberalise the international air-travel scene and throw it open to competition from Indian carriers including IC
. I mean look at the IC
example: a decade back when 9W
was in such a sorry state. Its share of the domestic actually dipped to below 40% at one stage! But now IC
has won back a lot of its pax, and the last survey by 'Business India' rated IC
as the first choice for over 60% of corporate travellers! Could you believe 9W
managed only half that figure? Among corporates?
Anybody still thinks that protectionism is a good idea? Air India is one of the last remaining symbols of the old socialist India and everything that was wrong with that idea. Its time we moved with the times. IF AI
cannot keep up with the change, then shut down the f***ing airline and let 9W
/S2 and IC
take over. They will do a much better job.
End of rant.