AI may get a shot in the arm soon

Prime minister assures that EGoM on AI's turnaround will take "expeditious decisions"


Sweta Ranjan | June 30, 2011

Air India (AI) may soon get another equity infusion of Rs 1,200 crore from the government. Prime minister Manmohan Singh told a group of editors on Wednesday that he would take all possible measures to revamp the ailing carrier.

Singh said that he would ask finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, who heads the group of ministers (GOM) working on AI's turnaround, to take "expeditious decisions" to save AI.

The prime minister said, "We will resolve the issues surrounding Air India. I will request Pranab Mukherjee to take expeditious decisions in the matter".

The GoM, last week, had said that the cash-strapped airline needed another equity infusion of Rs 1,200 crore. The government has already made equity infusions of Rs 2,000 crore in 2009-2010. But the airline may need as much as Rs 5,000 crore for a complete turnaround.

Kamaljeet Ratan, a spokesman of Air India, said that the revival of airline will happen soon and the company will earn back its lost reputation. He said that AI is working to prepare a resource generation plan and implement the turnaround programme.

Finance minister Mukherjee, at a meeting on June 22, had also said that a committee would be set up to examine the turnaround and financial restructuring plans. He had also assured that the committee would chalk out a plan to streamline and restructure the huge debt of Rs 40,000 crore.

Air India is saddled with a debt of about Rs 40,000 crore, of which Rs 18,000 crore are working capital loans taken from a consortium of banks and the remaining amount of loans is towards payment of new aircraft ordered.



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