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Air India likely to get Rs 2,000 crore

Last updated on: December 27, 2010 20:31 IST

Air India likely to get Rs 2,000 crore

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The Civil Aviation Ministry has recommended an equity infusion of Rs 2,000 crore (Rs 20 billion) in Air India in the next financial year after the beleaguered national carrier gets Rs 1,200 crore soon.

"Equity infusion of Rs 1,200 crore in Air India is expected in a few days... We have asked from the government further equity infusion of Rs 2,000 crore to be provided in the coming year's budget," Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel told reporters on the sidelines of a function to induct the first seaplane by Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited.

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Image: Air India Express.
Photographs: Reuters.
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He said he was hopeful of the government looking at the proposal "objectively" and added "anyway, the Group of Ministers is seized of the matter. It is the commitment of the government to help it (Air India) out and ensure that the national carrier is in good health".

Maintaining that Air India should live up to the people's expectations at a time when competition was the name of the game, he said "I would like to see it performing better. Some parameters have been met but a lot more needs to be done".

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Image: Air India.
Photographs: Reuters.
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Pointing out that RBI was working on the airline's proposal to restructure its debt, he said "the exercise will help Air India reduce the interest on loans and also enable moratorium on the repayment of loans".

The exercise is likely to be completed by January-end. Responding to a question on the handling of the fog situation by the Delhi and other airports in the country, Patel said it was being handled in the best possible manner.

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Image: Air India flight.
Photographs: Reuters.
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"We have been able to handle the situation compared to the situation in Europe where there was utter chaos (due to heavy snowfall)," Patel said.

The Minister said all operations under category-IIIB instrument landing system, that allows an aircraft to take-off in a visibility of 50 metres, were being carried out as per the standard norms "applied anywhere in the world".

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Image: Air India.

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"The criticism of the preparedness to deal with the fog is unwarranted. All Indian carriers are operating within the safety parameters. Indian carriers and pilots are CAT-III B compliant in large numbers," Patel said.

Nowhere in the world can any operation take place when the visibility drops below 50 meters, he said in reply to questions.


Image: Air India flight.
Photographs: Danish Ismail/Reuters.
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