India Tours -India's debt-laden national carrier Air India makes a loss of nearly 100 million rupees ($1.9 million) every day, the country's civil aviation minister told parliament on Wednesday. The country's fourth-largest airline by market share has been hit hard by rising fuel prices and fierce competition which have added to its legacy of labour problems, crushing debts and a costly merger in 2007.
"The total loss of Air India everyday on its operations is approximately rupees 10 cores ($A1.9 million)," Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India. The Indian government has pumped about 12 billion rupees ($A227 million) into the airline in the financial year 2010-11 and expects another 67 billion rupees for the fiscal year ending March 2012.
Air India has been in the red since 2007 when it merged with domestic carrier Indian Airlines and has seen its overall share of passenger traffic fall due to competition from private, domestic low-cost airlines. In a bid to help the distressed state carrier, the finance ministry in 2009 asked all government officials to use Air India for all their domestic and India Travel, international travels.
Singh said the airline is yet to collect over five billion rupees owed by several federal ministries. The employees of Air India are threatening to go on strike on April 2 if the debt-laden company is unable to clear money owed to staff in unpaid salaries. The national carrier has not paid salaries to its employees for the past four months, the Press Trust of India reported.