Air India: Aviation Ministry in process of preparing Cabinet note

Air India: Aviation Ministry in process of preparing Cabinet note

The Civil Aviation Ministry is in the process of preparing a Cabinet note to decide on the future course of action for loss-making Air India, including possible privatisation.

When asked about the ministry’s view on the possible disinvestment of Air India, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha today said, “We are in the process of preparing a Cabinet note”.

The Cabinet would take it up for consideration very shortly and that would initiate the entire process, he said without providing any specific details on the future course for the airline. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has pitched for disinvestment of Air India and government think-tank NITI Aayog has also submitted its recommendations on making the carrier strong and viable.

Last week, Jaitley and his Civil Aviation counterpart Ashok Gajapathi Raju discussed the future course for debt- ridden Air India. According to the Civil Aviation Ministry, all options are being considered for the national carrier. “NITI Aayog has given its suggestion to the Civil Aviation Ministry… Civil Aviation has to explore all the possibilities as to how the privatisation of Air India can be done,” Jaitley had said last week.

Staying afloat on little over Rs 30,000 crore bailout package extended by the previous UPA regime, Air India is saddled with nearly Rs 50,000 crore debt and is in discussions with lenders on ways to restructure the loans. Since the merger of Indian Airlines with itself, Air India has been in the red. However, it posted an operational profit of Rs 105 crore on account of low fuel prices and increased passenger numbers in 2015-16.

 

News Source: economictimes.indiatimes.com

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