Patel asks Air India to reduce costs, debts | india | Hindustan Times
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Patel asks Air India to reduce costs, debts

india Updated: Sep 30, 2009 15:54 IST

After its pilots called off their strike on Wednesday, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel asked the cash-strapped national carrier to take steps to reduce its expenses and debts.

"The government's support for Air India doesn't come without a rider. We have asked the carrier to cut costs," Patel told reporters in New Delhi soon after the pilots said they were returning to work.

The government has in principle agreed to infuse funds up to Rs 5,000 crore into Air India. The airline's losses since last fiscal till recently is expected to be over Rs 7,200 crore.

Regarding the management decision to cut wages, Patel said the management and workers should avoid taking unilateral decisions.

He said a pilots' committee will be formed to discuss the wage cut issue.

"There is no reason for any section of the employees to be unhappy. The committee of pilots will discuss pay cuts with the management," he said.

Senior executive pilots of Air India went on sick leave Saturday to protest against cuts in their productivity linked incentives. The protest was called off on Wednesday following the government's intervention.