Millennium Post

Govt may infuse fresh capital into Air India: Choubey

Hyderabad: After having failed to take the disinvestment plan of Air India ahead, the Centre is now mulling to infuse fresh capital into the ailing airlines, said an official in the Ministry of Civil Aviation on Thursday.

RN Choubey, secretary, Civil Aviation, said the disinvestment plan would be taken up once the conditions were favourable.

A decision will be taken (on capital infusion into Air India). It will be taken very soon," Choubey told reporters here.

"No support is given without some kind of timeline being determined for Air India to deliver. Whenever a government support is extended, there will be a corresponding timeline given to Air India to deliver on those expectations," he further said.

He said the government would provide necessary support to Air

India for improving its working. Last year, Air India was breaking even as far as operational costs were concerned, he added.

The proposed stake sale in Air India failed to attract any initial bidder when the deadline for bidding ended on May 31.

Under the Air India disinvestment plan, the government was to sell 76 per cent stake in the national carrier along with complete divestment of low-cost arm Air India Express and a 50 per cent stake in Air India SATS Airport Services Pvt Ltd - an equal joint venture with Singapore-based SATS.

"The government is committed to disinvestment in Air India. At present, the conditions are not quite favourable.

So, we are reviewing the situation. Since, we are committed to disinvestment at an appropriate time, when the situation improves, and when we judge that there is a demand, we would certainly proceed again with the process, he said.

Replying to a query, he said 20 airports have so far been connected under the Udan Scheme. The government has awarded 56 airports under the scheme. UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) scheme seeks to connect unserved and under-served airports as well as make flying more affordable, he added.

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