PM backs fresh equity to Air India


The PM gave this indication to Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel when the latter met him on Saturday to brief him on the precarious financial position of the carrier.

Air India, struggling to stay afloat after accumulating losses worth $1.5 billion, had been seeking fresh equity of about Rs 2,500 crore and a five-year soft loan of Rs 10,000 crore to mainly fund its ambitious aircraft acquisition plan.

“The prime minister was supportive of fresh equity in Air India,” an official spokesperson for the civil aviation ministry said after the hour-long meeting at South Block here.

“He was also briefed about the constitution of a new Air India board. The minister will also make a detailed presentation to the cabinet next Thursday,” the spokesperson said. “An early decision can be expected soon.” According to officials, the quantum of equity will depend on the view the government takes on the recommendations by the ministry as also a study by consultancy SBI Caps on the financial turnaround.

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