The national carrier Air India reported its highest-ever annual loss in 2018-19 fiscal due to reasons including low fleet utilisation and high fuel prices, said news reports.
The debt-laden Air India posted a provisional net loss of Rs 8,556.35 crore in 2018-19, civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri told the Lok Sabha on Thursday. It had a net loss of Rs 5,348.18 crore in the previous year, said a report in Mint.
Air India's accumulated losses went up to about 69,575.64 crore in the past decade, the report said quoting Puri.
The minister reiterated that the government is committed to the disinvestment of Air India, reported PTI.
According to Puri, the preparation of Preliminary Information Memorandum (PIM) for inviting Expression of Interest (EoI) for Air India disinvestment is in process.
The Air India Specific Alternative Mechanism (AISAM) has approved re-initiation of the process for the government's 100 percent stake in Air India along with Air India Express and the carrier's stake in joint venture AISATS.
Meanwhile, Puri said that the crisis-hit Air India has received an equity infusion of Rs 30,520.21 crore from financial year 2011-12 till date, reported PTI.
In April 2012, the then Central government had approved a Turnaround Plan (TAP)/ Financial Restructuring Plan (FRP) for reviving Air India, which has been in the red since merger of Indian Airlines in 2007-08.
To prepare for the disinvestment, the government is implementing a strategic plan, which includes a financial package and focus on increasing operational efficiencies, Puri said.
The major components of the financial package for 2018-19 included a cash support of Rs 3,975 crore to Air India, inclusive of Rs 1,630 crore already infused in the airline in 2018-19.
Another component was for providing a "government guarantee of Rs 7,600 crore, inclusive of Rs 3,000 crore already provided to Air India in 2018-19, to raise new debt for payment of stretched liabilities".
"Air India has received an equity infusion of Rs 30,520.21 crore till date from FY 2011-12, which includes financial support as per TAP/FRP and cash support in FY 2018-19," he said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.
On 28 November, the civil aviation minister had said in the Rajya Sabha that Air India would have to be closed down if not privatised and the government was committed to secure a favourable deal for all employees of the state-owned carrier.
The government was in the process of finalising invitation of bids, he said, adding interests of employees of the state-owned carrier Air India would be protected and there would be no job loss till its privatisation.
Last month, Air India had said that it would give one-year job protection to its employees amid efforts are underway to privatise the loss-making national carrier.
Over 11,000 employees of the debt-laden Air India will be offered employment guarantee for a period of one year as employee issues of state-run companies are of concern to buyers in the wake of high employee costs and low productivity.
— With PTI inputs
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Updated Date: Dec 06, 2019 15:36:09 IST