AI sells 4 aircraft in Mar to tackle financial crunch

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 30 2009, 05:08am hrs
The beleaguered national carrier of the country, Air India, which is undergoing a severe financial crisis and has asked the Centre for a heavy bailout sum, sold four of its aircraft during the month of March 2009 for $18.57 million including three Airbus A300 and one Boeing 747-300 Combi.

Fleet optimisation is one of the ways in which the airline PSU is looking at saving costs among other measures. The four aircraft sold during March were sold on a as is where is basis.

While Air India sold four aircrafts during March 2009, it sold 13 aircrafts in the previous year. However, aircrafts sold during 2007 and 2008 were on sale and lease back basis. This information was provided by the civil aviation minister Praful Patel in a written reply to a Rajya Sabha question. A total of 21 aircrafts were sold between 2007 and 2009 for $451.88 million.

Air India has also leased 46 aircrafts, which includes Boeing and Airbus planes from different companies across the world. The rental for the leased planes totals up to $18.945 million per month.

Answering another query Patel said that the average monthly expenditure of Air India before depreciation and obsolescence is approximately Rs 1,500 crore. He added the airline is taking various measures to bring down the overhead costs of the airlines, which includes, rationalisation of routes, return of leased aircraft, rationalisation of manpower costs and reduction of contractual employment, establishment of international advisory board among others. Air India, which is likely to post losses to the tune of Rs 5,000 crore in the financial year 2008-09 has reportedly asked for Rs 20,000 crore as bailout money to emerge out of the financial crisis it has landed itself in.