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Air India sucking public money from one end, bleeds it from other: Maharaja got this much in equity

Equity infusion in state-run carrier Air India has soared to over Rs 30,000 crore from FY12 to date even as the airline reels under tremendous loss and debt.

Air India sucking public money from one end, bleeds it from other: Maharaja got this much in equity

Equity infusion in state-run carrier Air India has soared to over Rs 30,000 crore from FY12 to date even as the airline reels under tremendous loss and debt. With losses running to about Rs 80,000 crore, Air India is struggling to stay afloat. The airline has received financial support under Turnaround Plan (TAP) and Financial Restructuring Plan (FRP) along with cash support from the government. Yet, in FY19 alone, Air India’s provisionally estimated losses have mounted to over Rs 8,556 crore. In a written reply to the Lok Sabha during the Winter Session, MoS Hardeep Singh Puri said that the airline has received an equity infusion of Rs 30,520 crore from FY12 to date.

Under the financial relief package of the airline planned for 2018-19, Air India has been allotted Rs 3,975 crore of cash support. Out of this, Rs 1,630 crore have already been infused in FY19. Other than that, the government has also guaranteed a package of Rs 7,600 crore. Out of this, 3,000 crore was provided in FY19. 

While the government desperately tries to sell off Maharaja to a private player, the Civil Aviation ministry has assured that the airline will remain operational till its divestment process is complete, IANS reported. The airline’s unions have been protesting against privatisation, but the Civil Aviation Minister said that the government does not have funds to infuse into Air India. Meanwhile, the government is expected to implement a strategic plan which includes a financial package and focus on increasing the operational efficiencies of the airline. Preparation of Information Memorandum for inviting expression of interest is also in the process for smooth divestment of the national carrier. 

The government will divest 100% of its stake in the airline and the Civil Aviation minister has time and again reiterated that Maharaja must go to a private player. Speaking at a press conference, the minister said that it is not the government’s business to run airlines and hence Maharaja must be privatised.

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