In a major boost to national carrier Air India (AI), the Group of Officers (GoF) from the finance ministry vetting the airline’s turnaround plan has favoured a one-time equity infusion of Rs 6,600 crore in this fiscal.
The GoF, as first reported by HT, is favourably inclined towards the government picking up the tab for AI’s aircraft acquisition loans worth R 20,185 crore. The GoF’s report that was placed before a Group of Ministers (GoM) on Friday, has also asked AI to introduce a voluntary retirement scheme for employees.
“The report would be reviewed by the RBI within a week. Only after that will any decision be taken,” said civil aviation minister Vayalar Ravi.
The recommendations and favourable response of the GoM is being seen as a pat on the back for aviation secretary Nasim Zaidi and AI CMD Rohit Nandan – the duo responsible for turning around things in AI.
The GoF has advised a sale and lease back model for new planes to put minimum burden on the government and cleared the induction of 14 Boeing 787 Dreamliners till 2014.
The acquisition of the remaining 13 planes would be reviewed later.
It laid emphasis on operationalisation of subsidiaries, which will mean transferring AI’s 18,000 employees and vastly improving its manpower ratio and rationalising of the performance-linked incentive.
The GoF has projected a 73% load factor by 2015. The GoM decided to extend the credit line by oil firms to AI to three more months.