Centre seeks credit for AI to pay fuel bill

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Air India
New Delhi, Jul 17: The civil aviation ministry has asked the oil ministry to sought a six-month credit for the Air India which is currently lacking funds to pay for its aviation turbine fuel (ATF) bill.

The aviation ministry has also sought oil ministry's intervention in asking oil marketing companies (OMC) to give credit to AI. Meanwhile, the finance ministry is also considering, if ATF will be brought under goods category so that it attracts a uniform 4 pc sales tax across the country.

Sources said, "The grossly overstaffed airline — that has 31,000 employees and almost 20,000 people doing outsourced jobs — is going to put a freeze on hiring for non-essential posts for next three years during which it expects 5,000 staffers to retire. At present, the annual wage bill of Rs 3,100 crore accounts for 18 pc of its operating expenses."

Sources also said, "The company"s financials are bad. Operational losses are Rs 250 crore per month. The daily interest on overdraft of Rs 16,000 crore taken from 17 banks is Rs 4 crore. AI will seek a loan of Rs 3,000 crore from the government."

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