New Delhi: A Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is scheduled to hold a crucial meeting on Tuesday to revive Air India debt recast and turnaround plans and recommend additional equity infusion in the ailing carrier to the Union Cabinet. 

This would be the first GoM meeting to be attended by newly appointed Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh.

According to sources, the GoM would deliberate upon the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) views on the debt restructuring plan. Sources added, the GoM would also consider the programme for acquisition of 27 Boeing 787 Dreamliner planes.

If sources are to be believed, the GoM would also mull over the recommendation made by a panel to infuse Rs 23,000 crores into Air India over the next ten years.

At present, Air India has outstanding loans and dues amounting to more than Rs 67,000 crores, out of which Rs 21,000 crores is working capital loan, Rs 22,000 crores long-term loan on fleet acquisition, Rs 4600 crores is vendor dues and an accumulated loss of Rs 20,320 crores.

Notably, in the previous week, the Central Board of Excise and Customs had frozen eleven bank accounts of the debt-ridden carrier following non-payments of duties worth Rs 300 crores.

The GoM in the last meeting, held in October 2011, decided that any decision would be taken only after the RBI gives its nod to the debt restructuring plan.

Meanwhile, in past two months, the RBI has had several rounds of meeting with Air India’s bankers.

US court rejects plea for blocking loan to AI

Meanwhile, a US court rejected appeals made by an industry body of major US airlines to block USD 3.4 billion loan to Air India to purchase new Boeing planes. The court has said that the trade group (Air Transport Association of America) failed to show that American carriers would suffer significant financial loss if the Boeing jets were delivered to Air India.


(JPN/Bureau)