New Delhi: The Union government on Thursday ruled out immediate disinvestment of Air India (AI) and Airports Authority of India (AAI).
“There is no proposal for disinvestment of AI and AAI,” civil aviation minister Praful Patel told Parliament.
The government is planning a major revamp at the cash-strapped Air India, which has been facing a financial crisis the past few years. Its borrowings have risen sharply to Rs15,241 crore in June from Rs6,550 crore in November 2007, largely due to debt servicing for the purchase of new aircraft.
Patel told NDTV channel on Thursday that Air India would need a bailout package of about Rs4,500 crore to bring it out of crisis.
Flight plan: Civil aviation minister Praful Patel says the government may impose user development fee at non-metro airports. Harikrishna Katragadda / Mint
“The government needs to put in around Rs2,500 crore of equity, which can be repaid in future once partial disinvestment takes place. You can look at another couple of thousand crore by way of soft loans, which is again repayable,” Patel said.
The minister also told Parliament that the government is mulling imposing user development fee at non-metro airports. Currently, airports at New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore levy the fee on passengers.
AAI owns and manages 92 airports and 28 civil enclaves at defence airfields.
Patel also told Parliament that India’s air passenger traffic is estimated to decline by 2.1% in 2009-10, but would likely climb back to 4.5% growth in 2010-11 and 5.3% the year after.
India’s air passenger traffic had declined 6.8% in 2008-09 after growing 21.2% in the previous year.
Patel added that according to projections made by Airports Authority of India, aircraft movement is likely to grow 3.4% in the current financial year and 4.8% next year.
To a separate question, Patel said the quantum of air cargo at Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata is estimated to grow by 1.0%, 3.7%, 2.0% and 3.0%, respectively, in the current financial year.
Next year, air cargo movement in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata is seen growing at 7.0%, 4.0%, 5.0% and 6.0%, respectively.
NewsWire18 also contributed to this story.