The new Civil Aviation Minister, Vayalar Ravi, on Thursday sought the support of all employees of the ailing national carrier, Air India, in restoring its lost glory, and said the staff and management should work in coordination to achieve this goal.

“I am taking over from one of my best friends and colleagues, Praful Patel, who is responsible for making the aviation sector grow very fast. Thanks to him that there are many more private players and budget airlines,” Mr. Ravi said soon after assuming office at the Ministry's headquarters in the presence of Mr. Patel.

He said he would carry forward the policies and implement the programmes initiated by his predecessor, and strive to bring about improvement in the financial position of Air India as well as the overall aviation sector.

Seeks unions' help

“I also solicit the cooperation of all trade unions. I am here to hear them and seek their cooperation. Among my priorities would be to improve Air India's services, make it a profitable institution and restore its lost glory,” Mr. Ravi said.

He said he would also be meeting corporate leaders and other stakeholders in the civil aviation sector shortly to listen to their issues and seek their cooperation. “The employees and the corporates are like my two hands.”

Replying to a question about the alleged cartelisation by airlines on airfares, Mr. Ravi said Mr. Patel had taken “very strong steps when there were complaints [of high fares]. I will follow his footsteps and not allow such things to happen.”

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