Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will hold a big meeting today (September 18) regarding the disinvestment of Air India, the public sector airline. Air India has incurred a huge loss of Rs 8,400 crore in the financial year 2018-19. These figures have recently been made public. In such a situation, this meeting of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is considered important.
If we talk about the earnings of Air India, the total income of the airline in the financial year 2018-19 was Rs 26,400 crore. During this time the company had to incur an operating loss of Rs 4,600 crore. After rising oil prices and the closure of airspace for Indian aircraft of Pakistan, the company is incurring a loss of 3 to 4 crores daily. By July 2, Air India had lost Rs 491 crore due to the closure of Pakistani airspace.
Loss due to PAK airspace closure
After the Pulwama terror attack in the month of February, Balakot strike was done by India. After this, Pakistan had closed its airspace. Although it was reopened in July, Pakistan once again closed its airspace at the end of August in the atmosphere created after the Government of India abolished Section 370 related to Kashmir. Apart from Air India, private airlines SpiceJet, IndiGo and GoAir have lost Rs 30.73 crore, Rs 25.1 crore and Rs 2.1 crore, respectively.
Total debt of Rs 58,000 crore
Air India, which has been in loss for a long time, has a total debt of Rs 58,000 crore and airlines have to spend Rs 4,000 crore annually to repay it. Recently, Air India Special Purpose Vehicle Air India Assets Holdings Limited (AIAHL) raised Rs 7,000 crore by issuing bonds to transfer part of its debt and assets. This will give some relief to Air India buried under heavy debt.
The government has been trying to disinvest the airline for a long time, but so far, according to the expectations, buyers have not been found. Disinvestment is the reverse of investment. Investment means investing in a business, an institution or a project. On the other hand, disinvestment means withdrawing that amount.
However, in the past, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, indicating the privatization of the airline, said that in favor of selling 100 per cent stake of Air India. He said that Air India will have to be privatized, but in spite of that it will remain Air India, will remain the pride of the country.