AI bailout may have to wait until targets are achieved

Unless Air India meets mandatory performance targets, the finance ministry may not release 60% of the committed fund of R10,662 crore for its financial restructuring. So far, the government has released R3,716 crore for the airline that has now accumulated a loss of around R20,000 crore.

Sources say the finance ministry is unhappy with Air India's asset monetisation plan, in which the carrier needs to raise R500 crore every fiscal till 2022 (R5,000 crore in 10 years). As part of the asset monetisation plan, Air India has to raise money through sale or leasing of its properties (residential and commercial) across 15 towns which it has not done so far.

According to a senior official in the civil aviation ministry, the finance ministry is reluctant to release rest of the amount as Air India has not been able to meet all conditions mandatory for disbursal of the funds. "We will have a second round of meeting soon. The remaining amount is over R6,000 crore, which is quite a lot to be released at one go. Let us see, we are trying to negotiate," the official said.

With an unhappy finance ministry, Air India has begun the process of appointing a real estate consultant for lease or sale of its properties across Agartala, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Coimbatore, Goa, Delhi, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Jammu, Amritsar, Aurangabad, Bhopal, Bhubaneshwar and Chennai. Sources say real estate consultants like Jones Lang LaSalle India, Cushman and Wakefield, Knight Frank and DTZ & Colliers have bid for the job.

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