Anurag Jain's Blog
Saturday, November 01, 2003

National airline carriers - same everywhere?

Recently I read two books. Actually, make that 1.75 books. The first one is Nudist On The Late Shift - Po Bronson and the second is Loosing my Virginity - Richard Branson. I can see the disapproval in your eyes hearing the scandalous titles, but these two books are as 'businessy' as they get!

I am still reading up (0.75 done) Loosing my Virginity and will write excerpts/review soon, but in the meantime I came across this news about Indian government's decision allowing private airlines to fly to Colombo. Now here's the link between the book and the news: Richard Branson's autobiography is full of stories about Virgin's struggle against British Airways and the contempt with which BA treated Virgin (and before that Laker and British Caledonian). Just like Branson's anguish on the subject spells it out, I also dont understand why the national carriers have to assume that its their birth-right to have priority - and more importantly, exclusive - access to the routes and slots. Even though, nothing much has come out in Indian press so far about the behind-the-scenes fight between Jet/Sahara and IA/AI, I am sure there must be a lot going on at AI/IA in order to not concede ground to private airlines. Dont believe it? Get this: At one of time, at BA there was a formal team set up to rein in Virgin's progress! If it can happen in UK, from where our public institutional structure has been borrowed, it surely can happen in India. I am waiting for the time when Naresh Goyal or Uttam Bose would speak up about what really is going on.

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