Finance, petroleum ministries asked to extend support to AI

New Delhi: Ending suspense a high-level committee of secretaries, set up to oversee Air India's restructuring efforts, has asked the finance ministry to critically examine the "extent of assistance" that could be extended to the national carrier. It has also asked the petroleum ministry to extend credit limit to the carrier, for an initial period of three months.

Meeting for the first time on Saturday, the committee, headed by Cabinet secretary KM Chandrasekhar, went into the details of the restructuring plans as submitted by Air India's management. This was the first such presentation made to the committee by the Air India management.

It is being given to understand that the committee has asked the carrier to appoint an auditor to monitor costs.

The auditor would ensure that cost reduction measures and operational efficiencies are implemented on a day-to-day basis, sources said.

The national carrier is estimated to have run up losses of Rs 7,200 crore in the last financial year.

Speaking to reporters after the meet, Arvind Jadhav, Air India chairman and managing director, said the "government is with us" and would give full backing to the airline for its growth and cost-saving plans.