New Delhi. 09 February 2017. Air India’s balance sheet has to be restructured and debt reduced as part of the transformation of the national carrier, Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Jayant Sinha said at an ASSOCHAM event held in New Delhi .

“Air India’s balance sheet has to be restructured and debt reduced…the other issue is that corporate governance and professional management need to be put in place. Besides it has to be seen how best use can be made of the non-core assets of Air India. Also work on route optimisation is underway,” said Mr Sinha while addressing ASSOCHAM’s 96th Annual Session.

He said the overall transformation of Air India is being done with a combination of steps which have started yielding results. The carrier which was running into losses has started giving operating profits.

“This year again Air India would generate operating profits,” he expressed confidence.

On the issue of renaming some of the airports, the minister said, “On the proposal of naming the airports is under consideration of the cabinet.”

As part of the expansion of the aviation sector, Sinha said, “Work on as many as 43 new airports is underway.” The bids for Jaipur and Ahmedabad airports are being called.

He said the UDAN (Uday Desh ka Aam Nagrik) program, the government is trying to develop subsidy-based business models so that one-hour flight can be made available at a fare of Rs 2,500.

Inviting larger investment in the fast growing aviation sector, Sinha said, “The airports alone would require investments worth Rs 2.5-3 lakh crore.”