The PJ Tatler

Air India Approved to Sell Airplanes that US Taxpayers Helped It Buy

Why did US taxpayers help Air India, which is now mired in debt, buy a bunch of airplanes? Beats me, but it seems to me that if we’re serious about cutting government largesse, the Export Import Bank would be a good place to start. It’s corporate welfare dressed in the guise of foreign and economic policy.

In the case of Air India, which is run by the government of India, the reason that a foreign air carrier was able to get loans backed by US taxpayers may have something to do with the aircraft purchased. Air India bought up several Boeing 777s. Boeing, it turns out, is the Ex-Im Bank’s favorite. Fully 82.7% of the Ex-Im Bank’s loan guarantees in the current fiscal year have benefited Boeing in one way or another. Air India obtained its loan to buy the 777s in 2011.

Air India’s purchase of more than $3 billion worth of 777s has not turned the airline’s fortunes around, so now it’s looking to sell those aircraft, purchased via a loan backed by US taxpayers, at a steeply discounted $450 million.