Concerned over the overall health of Air India, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has asked the national carrier to submit a detailed performance report on its losses, profitability and revival plan.
The state-run airline, however, termed these queries as “routine” and a senior official said today that a response has already been sent.
The PMO sent a questionnaire to Air India seeking information on, among other things, its mounting financial liability as well as its lack of profits.
The airline was also asked to furnish details of its turnaround plan.
“The questions from PMO are routine and sent to all loss making public sector undertakings and mainly on the ability of the company to return to profitability and its future business plan and whether the company is in the strategic sector, which we have replied,” the airline official said.
Air India is saddled with a debt burden of around Rs 40,000 crore while its combined losses currently stand at a whopping Rs 30,000 crore.
It is surviving on a bailout package under a revival plan, which entails an equity infusion in the carrier to the tune of Rs 36,000 crore in a staggered manner till 2021-22.
The airline paid Rs 4,000 crore in 2013-14 as interest on loans while its revenue stood at Rs 18,000 crore.
According to the government, Air India accumulated losses of Rs 5,388 crore, Rs 5,490 crore and Rs 7,559 crore in years 2013-14, 2012-13 and 2011-12 respectively.
Though there has been a demand to privatize the national carrier, the Government has ruled out any such move.
“As part of its turnaround plan, Air India will be getting equity (Rs 30,000) crore for a certain period. That process is still being completed. So right now Air India is not in the divestment list,” a senior Civil Aviation Ministry official had said recently.
Ruling out even a “rethink” by the government on the national carrier’s partial or complete privatisation at this stage, the official had said that “disinvestment cannot happen unless the huge debt and mounting losses get wiped out from the balance sheet.”
“AI has improved considerably in on time performance for the last few days wherein domestic OTP has improved to 90 percent and international between 85 to 90 percent,” the airline official said.