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Air India's operating profit more than doubles to Rs 2.9 bn in FY17

The net loss of the state-owned airline however widened to Rs 57.65 billion in 2016-17

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

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has been "consistently improving" its overall performance and more than doubled its operating profit to Rs 2.98 billion in the last financial year, according to the government.

The net loss of the state-owned airline however widened to Rs 57.65 billion in 2016-17.

The divestment-bound national carrier had an operating profit of Rs 1.05 billion in 2015-16.

"has been consistently improving its overall financial and operational performance since the implementation of the turnaround plan by the government," Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha today.

In 2015-16, had an operating profit of Rs 1.05 billion while net loss stood at Rs 38.36 billion.

The previous UPA government, in 2012, had approved a turnaround plan under which Air India is to receive a total equity infusion worth Rs 302.31 billion up to 2021 subject to meeting certain performance thresholds.

Out of the total amount, Rs 265.45 billion has already been infused into the airline till now.

As part of the turnaround plan, Air India has been taking various measures, including rationalisation of routes and enhanced utilisation of aircraft.

The airline's total loans amounted to Rs 484.47 billion in 2016-17. This includes aircraft and working capital loans of Rs 173.59 billion and Rs 310.87 billion, respectively.

Sinha said the draft expression of interest document inviting proposal for the airline's disinvestment is yet to be finalised by the Air India Specific Alternative Mechanism (AISAM).

"Formal proposals from prospective bidders would be received thereafter only. Any unsolicited expressions of interest at this stage are not relevant," he said.

In June 2016, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) had given its in-principle approval for considering strategic disinvestment of Air India and its five subsidiaries. It also constituted the AISAM, which is headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

The panel would decide on hiving off certain assets to a shell company, the entities to be offered for sale during the bidding process, the quantum of disinvestment and the universe of bidders, Sinha said in a separate reply.

To another reply, he said the Air India Museum project has been put on hold due to the ongoing disinvestment process.

There was a proposal to set up a museum of arts and crafts in Mumbai to showcase the collection of Air India.

First Published: Thu, February 08 2018. 17:54 IST