NEW DELHI: The country's national carrier Air India suffered a loss of Rs 108 crore due to delayed departure of its flights in the last financial year 2018-19, the government said on Wednesday.
According to a government statement, the flagship air carrier suffered a loss of approximately Rs 108 crore due to the delayed departure of its flights on account of various factors in the financial year 2018-19.
Giving more details, Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep S Puri informed the Rajya Sabha that due to delayed flights, Air India had to make necessary arrangements for passengers' accommodation, meals and alternate flights which led to an increased burden of Rs 108 crore on the national carrier.
Attributing reasons, the Minister said that the flights were delayed sometimes due to technical glitch, engineering issues, crew members, ground handling, delay in clearance from the Air Traffic Controller and connecting flights on international routes.
Puri also informed the Rajya Sabha that Air India will have to close down if it is not privatised.
He, however, said that a favourable deal would be ensured for all the employees.
"I will go to that extent and say that," the Minister said while replying to a question in the Upper House.
The government is readying the bid document for selling off its entire stake in the national carrier and has set March 31 as the deadline for completing the disinvestment process.
In an earlier attempt, the Narendra Modi government had in May 2018 invited the expression of interest (EoI) to sell 76 per cent of its stake but not a single private party showed interest in the first stage of bidding.
The top aviation ministry officials and Air India Chief Ashwani Lohani are currently meeting the potential investors before launching the bid process.
Hardeep Puri had last week said that the Group of Ministers (GoM) on Air India had earlier met and taken some decisions.
Asked by a member in the Rajya Sabha if pilots had been leaving the airline in the wake of privatization, the Minister replied in negative.
Air India has stayed afloat on government support. The UPA-II government had cleared a financial package of over Rs 30,000 crore to ensure the public sector carrier survived.
(With Agency inputs)