Civil Aviation Secretary Chairs Review Meeting Of Air India
An Air India Ltd. aircraft prepares to land at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)  

Civil Aviation Secretary Chairs Review Meeting Of Air India


Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola took a review meeting of Air India on Friday amid the government preparing for disinvestment of the debt-laden flag carrier.

The meeting comes ahead of the airline’s board meet, which scheduled to be held on Oct. 22 for clearing the consolidated account statement for the fiscal ended March 2019.

During the two-and-a-half hour meeting at the Rajiv Gandhi Bhavan in New Delhi, which houses the civil aviation ministry, the secretary took stock of the situation at the flag carrier, including accounts of the group company and its subsidiaries as well as employee-related matters, said a source.

Last Monday, Air India management held a meeting with its trade unions on the proposed privatisation of the loss-making carrier.

A majority of its unions are opposed to the move, fearing job losses.

The government is preparing to divest its stake in Air India and the final contours are expected to be finalised in the coming days. The airline has a debt burden of more than Rs 58,000 crore.

As part of efforts to clean up the balance sheet of Air India, around Rs 30,000 crore of the amount is to be repaid by way of proceeds from the issuance of bonds by its special purpose vehicle, Air India Asset Holding Ltd.

AIAHL was set up for warehousing accumulated working capital loans not backed by any asset along with four subsidiaries -- Air India Air Transport Services Ltd, Airline Allied Services Ltd, Air India Engineering Services Ltd. and Hotel Corporation of India Ltd. -- and non-core assets, including paintings and artefacts.

It has already so far mopped up a total of Rs 21,985 crore by way of bond issues since September 16 and the proceeds would be utilised to pare the debt of the national carrier.

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