Union Minister Jayant Sinha on Friday said that the government is committed to provide appropriate liquidity and financial resources to Air India to cut the delay in payment of salaries and maintain its operations.
In a major set-back to the government, the proposed 76 per cent strategic stake sale in the debt-laden carrier failed to provoke any initial bids as the deadline ended on May 31.
"We are definitely going to provide necessary liquidity and financial resources so that Air India continues its very successful turnaround plan and provide world-class customer service to passengers.... also, to ensure that its talented and hardworking employees are paid on time for their services,” said Sinha.
Air India is facing financial woes and has delayed payment of salaries to its employees for the month of May. However, the payment is likely to be made on June 15.
"The government is committed to provide appropriate liquidity and ensuring all financial arrangements are in place for Air India to continue to maintain its operations at world class levels," said Sinha.
He further added that Air India's assets have been separated into two parts. ".... One which is put up for strategic disinvestment and other set of assets are in an asset holding... monetisation efforts for assets is underway in asset holding company."
The government had said that it was considering listing of Air India after the proposal for 76 per cent strategic stake sale failed to attract any bidders. It had proposed to offload 76 per cent equity in the national carrier as well as transfer the management control to private players, as per the preliminary information memorandum.
The transaction would involve Air India, its low-cost arm Air India Express and Air India SATS Airport Services. The latter is an equal joint venture between the national carrier and Singapore Airlines' arm SATS.
Under the proposed disinvestment process, around Rs 33000 crore debt would have remained with Air India. Air India's debt burden was about Rs 50000 crore at the end of March 2017.
Air India is staying flooded on little over Rs 30000 crore bailout package extended by the previous UPA regime in 2012.
Sinha was in Mumbai to inaugurate Air India-Boeing Accelerated AME Apprenticeship Programme. The Air India-Boeing programme for aircraft maintenance engineers (AMEs), inaugurated today, is funded by Boeing and would train 25 engineers annually.
Sinha said the American aircraft maker would spend $50000 on each of the 25 students annually in services and equipment.
The smart classroom service would be run by Boeing and Air India Engineering Services Ltd (AIESL). It would have advanced training aids along with a specially customised curriculum to skill aircraft maintenance engineers.
Classes for the first batch of the one-year programme would begin in August.
(with PTI inputs)