Air India to receive additional equity soon: Patel

New Delhi: After securing an initial Rs800-crore bailout for Air India, civil aviation minister Praful Patel is hopeful that the government would infuse "more" equity in the national carrier in the near future.

"Government is committed to equity infusion in Air India. Rs800 crore has already been infused. More money will be coming in the near future," Patel told reporters on the sidelines of a tourism and travel mart here.

He said an empowered group of ministers (E-GoM), headed by finance minister, Pranab Mukherjee, would meet on 3 February to decide on further equity infusion.

"I can't give any commitment until we have a decision of the GoM," Patel responded when asked about the quantum of the new funds he expected to receive from the government.

He dismissed as "completely baseless" recent reports that the government was mulling demerging Air India and Indian Airlines, the combined entity which today constitutes the National Aviation Company of India Ltd (NACIL).

Patel also revealed that his ministry would soon unveil a new airport policy, which would allow construction of greenfield airports at smaller destinations. Such projects would receive 'single window clearance' by the government, he said.