Monday, December 19, 2016

Centre keen to recast Air India debt: Raju

The Centre is exploring the idea of restructuring the debt of state-owned Air India, and is willing to talk to those who are interested in picking up a stake in the airline.

“There is an idea circulating that Air India will do better if its debt is restructured,” Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju told BusinessLine. However, he also stressed the need to evolve a consensus on the matter within his own Ministry. “Once you convince yourself, it is easier to convince the others.”

Air India, which has been posting losses for years now, has a debt of around ₹46,000 crore.

Raju made it clear that Air India cannot expect support from the government all the time. “I am not someone who will indulge in ‘Air India-bashing’, but neither am I going to commit the taxpayers’ money for eternity.” He said the Centre was willing to help the airline “pull up its socks as they have done India proud on several occasions”. The airline needs to survive and a strategy to that end will be put in place.
18/12/16 K Giriprakash/The Hindu Business Line
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