Debt-ridden Air India might shut down in six months, says official

Updated: 31 December, 2019 13:16 IST | Agencies | Sydney

"We are some how managing the operations at present and at best we can sustain this situation till June. If a buyer does not come by that time, we will have to shut shop," said the official

This image has been used for representational purposes only
This image has been used for representational purposes only

Sydney: Struggling Air India might be forced to shut down by June next year unless it finds a buyer as "piecemeal" arrangements cannot be sustained for long, according to a senior airline official.

Amid continuing uncertainty over the fate of the national carrier, the official said there is also need for funds to restart operations of 12 grounded narrow-body planes. The airline has a debt burden of around Rs 60,000 crore and the government is still working on the modalities for the disinvestment.

Sounding alarm bells, the official said Air India might well go Jet Airways way if a prospective buyer does not come on board by June next year. With the government leaving the debt-ridden airline to fend for itself by refusing to inject funds any more amid its privatisation plans, Air India is "somehow" keeping it afloat with piecemeal arrangements, which are unlikely to sustain for long, the official said.

"We had sought Rs 2,400 crore sovereign guarantee to mop up funds for meeting operational requirement. But the government has provided guarantee only for Rs 500 crore.

"We are some how managing the operations at present and at best we can sustain this situation till June. If a buyer does not come by that time, we will have to shut shop," said the official.

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First Published: 31 December, 2019 10:45 IST

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