20-May-2010 10:59 AM

Air India requests more fresh equity, but on path to recovery - Minister

Air India parent, National Aviation Company of India Ltd (NACIL), met with the Indian Ministry of Finance on 19-May-2010 to discuss the carrier’s turnaround plan (The Hindu Business Line, 19-May-2010). Air India's Board reportedly applied to the Ministry for an additional USD1.1 billion in equity support (DNA, 20-May-2010). The carrier received USD173.7 million in equity support in FY2009/10 and approval for USD260.6 million in FY2010/11. The additional USD1.1 billion would be used to repay loans. Air India would agree to restructure USD3.9 billion in debt in return for the additional equity support.

Meanwhie, Minister for Finance, Pranab Mukherjee, reportedly proposed banks freeze the payment of interest by NACIL and provide zero bond coupon to the company. NACIL is also reportedly opening bids to refinance a USD1,150 million loan for the acquisition of 21 aircraft and spares at a lower interest rate (Press Trust of India, 19-May-2010).

Separately, Indian Minister for Civil Aviation, Praful Patel, stated Air India is "on the path of recovery" (Press Trust of India, 19-May-2010). Mr Patel added Air India’s losses of approximately USD86.9 million per month have been reducing by about USD21.7 million per month.

Ministry of Civil Aviation:Air India is certainly on the path of recovery. Its losses have started coming down ... the situation is improving,” Praful Patel, Minister for Civil Aviation. Source: Press Trust of India, 19-May-2010.

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