Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday that all support would be given to the beleaguered national carrier, Air India.
The Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party had demanded a White Paper on the airline’s state of affairs.
Patel said in his reply that the accumulated losses of the airline is likely to be to the tune of Rs 7,200 crore. He said he had discussed the airline’s problem with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who said Air India, being the national carrier, is the nation’s pride and everything should be done to bring it back to profitability.
All measures, including a possible infusion of equity and a soft loan, were under consideration, he said.
Patel said the airlines industry has been reeling under losses due to the present economic situation, which has lowered seat occupancy apart from forcing all airlines worldwide to drop fares in a highly competitive market.
He said he equity base of AirIndia is only Rs 145 crore and the government had never assisted the airline previously. A plan for an IPO had also been mooted in the pre merger period but the market conditions were not conducive, he added.