4 Air India grounded planes to be back in service next week

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New Delhi | Published: September 14, 2018 2:48:47 AM

Four of Air India's grounded aircraft are likely to be back in service from next week as the carrier has placed the order for new engines post the government releasing around Rs 980 crore as supplementary grant.

Air India, Air India planes, Air India aircrafts, Air India engines, flying fleet, india, industry newsA total of 17 aircraft, including four Airbus A321-200s and as many B787-8s, have been grounded for weeks due to lack of spares. (Reuters)

Four of Air India’s grounded aircraft are likely to be back in service from next week as the carrier has placed the order for new engines post the government releasing around Rs 980 crore as supplementary grant. A total of 17 aircraft, including four Airbus A321-200s and as many B787-8s, have been grounded for weeks due to lack of spares.

A senior Air India official said the remaining 13 aircraft will rejoin the flying fleet by December “Total 17 aircraft are grounded due to non-availability of spares. We are receiving four engines this week while other aircraft will get spares by December. We want to spend to spend the fresh capital for immediate requirements like service and salaries,” the airline executive said.

Last month, the Air India pilots body had written a letter to the chairman and managing director PS Kharola stating that nearly 23% of the airline’s fleet is grounded causing loss of revenue and numerous flight cancellations. Air India received Rs 980 crore from the central exchequer in the form of supplementary grants earlier this month, taking the total amount of capital infused to Rs 1,630 crore in FY19. It got Rs 650 crore grant in the Union Budget.

The government has also provided the airline guarantees worth Rs 3,000 crore to raise funds from banks. “This amount will be good enough for our urgent requirements. We will seek further support from the government to revive the airline,” the official added. Air India’s accumulated debt stood at Rs 48,781 crore as on March 31, 2017. Its last reported losses, which was for FY17, stood at Rs 5,765 crore. The government is looking at transferring the non-core assets and a major portion of debt of Air India to a special purpose vehicle as part of the revival package for the carrier.

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