AI privatisation: Rs 16k-cr unpaid bills in government account

Air India
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Air India 

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The government will transfer about Rs16,000 crore of unpaid fuel bills and other pending dues that Air India owes to suppliers, to a special purpose vehicle (SPV) before handing over the loss-making airline to the Tata Group, a senior official said.

New Delhi: The government will transfer about Rs16,000 crore of unpaid fuel bills and other pending dues that Air India owes to suppliers, to a special purpose vehicle (SPV) before handing over the loss-making airline to the Tata Group, a senior official said.

Air India Assets Holding Ltd (AIAHL), which will hold non-core assets of Air India such as land and building, will also be saddled with 75 per cent of the airline's debt that the Tata Group is not taking over. Besides the debt, the excess liability going to AIAHL comprises unpaid fuel bills to oil companies, airport operators and vendors, said Tuhin Kanta Pandey, Secretary to the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management - the department running the privatisation programme of the government.

Pandey said he does not expect these dues to increase much by December-end as the government would continue to support the airline's operations by giving the Rs 20 crore fund required daily to maintain it as a going concern. Before the handover of the airline to Tatas, the government would again work on the balance sheet of Air India for the remaining 4-month period (September-December) and whatever liabilities arise would be transferred to AIAHL.

As on August 31, Air India had a total debt of Rs 61,562 crore. Of this, Tata Sons holding company Talace Pvt Ltd will take over Rs 15,300 crore and the remaining Rs 46,262 crore will be transferred to AIAHL.

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