CEN­TRE CON­SID­ER­ING RE­CAST­ING AIR IN­DIA’S DEBT

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The Min­istry of Civil Avi­a­tion is ex­plor­ing ways and means of re­struc­tur­ing the debt of the na­tional car­rier Air In­dia. The gov­ern­ment is will­ing to talk to those who are in­ter­ested in pick­ing up a stake in the air­line. Air In­dia has been post­ing losses for years now and its debt bur­den now stands at ` 46,000 crore. “There is an idea cir­cu­lat­ing that Air In­dia will do bet­ter if its debt is re­struc­tured,” Union Civil Avi­a­tion Min­is­ter P. Ashok Ga­jap­athi Raju told the me­dia. 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.”

The Min­ster 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.

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