Indian carriers have a debt of Rs 57,274 crore

Air India was followed by private carrier Jet Airways and its no-frill subsidiary JetLite at Rs 16,095 crore and Kingfisher Airlines at Rs 4,725 crore during the same period, according to official data.

The figures were given in the Lok Sabha by Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel.

A major chunk of the debt burden was caused by the high fuel prices during the period. Besides, the airlines registered poor load factor due to economic slowdown.

The figures were disclosed in the wake of estimates by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) that Indian carriers alone accounted for almost one-third of the global airline losses during the period.

The figures showed that the debt burden of the three major airlines and no-frill carrier IndiGo galloped 2.5 to three times between 2006-07 and 2008-09.

But the long term debt of low-cost carrier SpiceJet came down from Rs 357.18 crore in 2006-07 to Rs 33.3 crore in 2008-09, while Paramount Airways had a debt of Rs 326.54 crore in the year 2008-09.

Patel said the Centre, with the help of state governments, had taken several measures to help the ailing airlines.

"The state governments were persuaded to reduce the sales tax on ATF, and Government of Andhra Pradesh and in certain cases Government of Rajasthan have reduced the sales tax on ATF to four per cent," the Civil Aviation Minister said.

The Government of Maharashtra has also reduced sales tax on ATF from 25 per cent to four per cent for flights originating from airports other than Pune and Mumbai.

He also said that oil companies have started announcing the ATF prices on a fortnightly basis rather than monthly basis which is helping the airlines when the crude prices are going down, he added.

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