Aid to the Maharaja: India's ministers come up with a new formula
INDIA's government has agreed to back Air India with up to Rs50bn ($1.1bn/ £67m) if the ailing state-run carrier finds the same amount in costs cuts and extra revenue, the aviation minister said yesterday. The airline lost $875m (£54m) in the fiscal year ended March and has sought a government bailout. Hundreds of Air India pilots went on strike in September to protest management plans to cut pay incentives. The strike was called off when aviation minister Praful Patel said the grievances would be dealt with. “The government has demonstrated its sincerity and agreed to an equity infusion... of 50 billion rupees," Patel said after a meeting with Air India management and unions. The airline must cut costs by Rs30bn ($65m/£40m)and raise revenue by Rs20bn ($43m/£26m) in the next two years, he said. When asked about possible wage cuts, Patel said “it is only one aspect of cost cutting.” He said Air India employees were willing to co-operate with management to “forge a way out of the current crisis.” Air traffic has shown an uptrend in the last month and is showing some signs of a recovery, Patel said.
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