After getting a total of Rs. 2,000 crore as equity for Air India in two tranches, the Civil Aviation Ministry has sought another Rs. 2,000 crore for the ailing national carrier in the next financial year.
Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi would meet Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi on Tuesday to discuss issues pertaining to the aviation sector in the upcoming budget.
While a demand for allocation of Rs. 2,000 crore for Air India has already been made by the Ministry, sources said provision for at least Rs. 1,200 crore worth of equity could be made in the 2011-12 budget. The remaining part could come in the supplementary budget, they added.
“We have already asked for more,” Mr. Ravi told reporters to a query about the budget allocation sought by him.
He refused to divulge any details.
The Minister would also hold a meeting with leaders of all trade unions in Air India on Wednesday in a bid to seek their cooperation to turnaround the carrier. The airline has 32,000 employees on its rolls and another 10,000 on contract.
Himself a trade union leader, Mr. Ravi would camp in Mumbai for two days and would also hold discussions with the management on the feedback he gets from the unions.
“I will meet the trade union leaders and seek their cooperation… The basic aim will be to know their mind on the issues and to what extent they can cooperate to take Air India forward,” Mr. Ravi said, acknowledging that the employees “may have grievances”.
To a question on the recent sacking of Air India Express COO Pawan Arora, he said he was not part of the turnaround plan group in the airline and added “any one person leaving will not be a problem for Air India“.
Asked about questions raised by parliamentary committees on the merger of Air India and erstwhile Indian Airlines, the Minister emphatically said, “There is no rethink on the merger. It has already taken place.”