No assurance on Air India bailout yet

June 22nd, 2009 - 11:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, June 22 (IANS) Air India officials, who met the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, T.K. Nair, Monday seeking financial assistance for the cash-strapped airline, did not get any assurance from the government, a senior official said.
Civil Aviation Secretary M. Madhavan Nambiar, Air India chairman and managing director Arvind Jadhav and other senior ministry and airline officials met Nair here.

“The government took stock of the situation and also assessed the initiatives taken by Air India to fight out the crisis. But the PMO (Prime Minister’s Office) has not assured anything concrete so far,” a senior government official, who did not wish to be named, told IANS.

Jadhav and other top Air India officials met Cabinet Secretary K.M. Chandrasekhar Saturday to discuss the financial problems of the airline.

According to officials, the government has asked the carrier to scrap its performance-linked bonuses and downsize its workforce.

Currently the wages for its 31,000 employees cost the company over Rs.3,000 crore annually.

Earlier in the day, Air India said in a statement that it was planning to cut the wage cost by up to Rs.500 crore per annum.

The airline, however, ruled out layoffs at this moment.

Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel, who is currently in France, will likely meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and ask for a bailout package soon after his return to Delhi Tuesday.

Air India incurred losses of over Rs.4,000 crore last fiscal.

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