Friday, December 16, 2011

Air India debts mount to Rs.43,000 crore: Minister

Noting that Air India is passing through a deep crisis with its total debt touching a whopping Rs.43,000 crore, government on Friday expressed confidence that it would be able to wipe out the debts with active cooperation of management and employees.

Air India has also a net loss of Rs.18,000 crore accumulated in the past three to four years, Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi said.

Giving details of the national carrier's indebtedness, he said AI's outstanding loan stood at Rs.20,000 crore on account of purchasing new aircraft and Rs.20,000 crore for taking loan for operational purposes.

However, Ravi expressed confidence that government would be able to overcome the crisis and wipe out its debts with the active co-operation of the management and employees.

Increase in revenue of the Airlines was the silver lining and 'objective' is to double the revenue, he said.

Air India employees has extended full support to government in resolving the problems, he said while inaugurating the Aircraft Maintenance facility, put up by AI here.

On criticism that AI's debt mounted due to purchase of new aircraft, he said the carrier was able to operate its schedule with the 82 Airbus and Boeing aircraft it acquired. Otherwise, it would have found it difficult to operate its services.

Observing that Air India enjoys the preferred airline status among Non-resident Keralites, Ravi said there were a lot of demands from NRK's to operate more Air India Flights.

State Minister for Excise and Airports, K. Babu, said Airport Authority of India has given its approval on taking 13 per cent equity in the Kannur Airport Project.

Shashi Tharoor, MP, said the airlines market in the country was growing by eight per cent and projected growth rate was 15 per cent.

The state-of-art aircraft maintenance facility with two hangars would become a major revenue earning centre of the state.The facility could be used by other airlines also, he added.

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