First instalment of Rs400-cr equity for Air India in January

State-owned National Aviation Co of India Ltd (NACIL), the holding company for struggling carrier Air India, has said it will receive its first instalment of fresh equity of Rs400 crore ($80 million) from the government by January.

'The group of ministers has recently assured support to the national carrier in the form of equity infusion and the first instalment of Rs400 crore is expected by January 2010,' the company said in a statement.

The debt-burdened carrier has posted a loss of Rs7,200 crore last fiscal.

'Further instalments would be tied up to the milestones of savings effected on account of cost-cutting exercise at various levels,' the statement said.

'We are simultaneously taking effective measures to enhance revenue to the extent feasible in today's market environment. We will also aggressively rationalize its fleet size and network besides pruning non-core activities in the coming months,' NACIL said.

The group of ministers on civil aviation, led by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, has asked Air India to reduce costs by at least Rs2,000 crore by the end of the current fiscal.