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Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Air India invites bids for raising Rs 6,150 crore to repay aircraft debt

Notably, the government has agreed to guarantee these loans, which comes as a huge relief to the loss-making airline in its effort to meet financing requirements prior to getting privatised.

Written by Pranav Mukul | New Delhi | Updated: November 12, 2020 10:01:58 am
Air India has opened ticket booking for San Francisco from Bengaluru starting from Wednesday.

Disinvestment-bound Air India is looking to raise short-term loans of Rs 6,150 crore to repay its aircraft debt towards six of its Boeing 787 and one Boeing 777 planes.

Notably, the government has agreed to guarantee these loans, which comes as a huge relief to the loss-making airline in its effort to meet financing requirements prior to getting privatised.

The airline is approaching seven tranches of foreign currency repayments — three of Rs 790 crore each, three of Rs 925 crore each and one of Rs 1,005 crore. In the tender document, the national carrier has asked banks to submit their bids by November 20.

Last month, in an effort to pull interest in the disinvestment process, the Centre had tweaked the bidding parameters to allow the potential bidders to decide the level of debt they want to take on along with the airline.

A senior Air India official told The Indian Express that the flag carrier was awaiting fund infusion of Rs 500 crore from the central government but the proposal was not approved given the Covid-19 pandemic situation.

“The approval for guaranteeing the loans for one year is a huge relief as the airline still has working capital and other requirements by the time that it gets disinvested,” the official further said.

The first deadline for submitting bids during the government’s attempt to sell its entire 100 per cent shareholding in Air India — along with Air India’s 100 per cent holding in Air India Express, a low-cost carrier, and 50 per cent share in Air India-SATS, a joint venture in which Singapore Airport Terminal Services holds the balance 50 per cent — was March 17.

However, due to the pandemic, this deadline was extended multiple times till October 30. Last month, it was further extended to December 14.

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