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New Delhi: National carrier Air India Limited, which has suffered losses every year since its merger with Indian Airlines in 2007-08, has accumulated losses to the tune of 70,820 crore till 31 March 2020,minister of state for civil aviation V.K. Singh told the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

Responding to a question from member of parliament Mahesh Poddar, Singh said that major reasons for Air India's losses include high interest burden on debt, increase in competition especially from low-cost carriers, high input cost, adverse impact of exchange rate variation.

The projected benefits of the merger, between Air India and Indian Airlines, have not been achieved, Singh added.

Meanwhile, the government expects to receive financial bids for divestment-bound Air India Ltd by 15 September, the government had informed the parliament last week. The Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party government aims to conclude 100% divestment of Air India before the end of this fiscal year through March.

So far, the Tata group is among the front-runners to acquire Air India.

Air India, which has never made a net profit since its merger with Indian Airlines in 2007, has incurred a net loss of about 9,500- 10,000 crore in the year ended March 2021, up from a 8,000 crore loss recorded in the previous year, a senior official of the airline had earlier told Mint.

The airline reported losses of 7,982.83 crore (provisional figure) in 2019-20, 8,556.35 crore in 2018-19, and 5,348.18 crore in 2017-18.

While the government remains committed to Air India’s privatization, the carrier’s liabilities are expected to cross $20 billion by 2024-2025, which includes losses reported during FY21 and FY22 due to the pandemic, aviation consultancy firm Capa India said in its India Aviation Outlook FY22.

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