Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Air India to raise $250 mn by putting two Dreamliners on sale: Report

BELEAGUERED national carrier Air India has put on sale two more Dreamliners (Boeing 787-800) to raise $250 million (nearly Rs 1,700 crore) for the repayment of short-term loan availed earlier for purchasing these planes. These two aircraft were delivered to Air India between November last year and January this year.
The state-owned airline would also...
lease back these two Boeing 787-800s under an operating lease for a period of up to 12 years with a three-year extension option, the airline said in its Invitation of Offers document.
Under a Sale and Lease Back (SLB) arrangement, the seller of an asset leases it back from the purchaser for a long-term period and continues to use it without actually owning it.
The Maharaja that has been surviving on a bailout package being extended by the government, has fixed a reserve purchase price at $125 million (Rs 836 crore) for each aircraft.
At present, the airline has 23 Dreamliners in its fleet.
The airline has already sold and leased back the remaining 21 Dreamliners under the SLB arrangement.
As part of its fleet expansion plan, Air India had in 2006 placed orders with Boeing for 68 aircraft -- 27 Dreamliners, 15 B777-300ERs, eight B777-200LRs and 18 B-737-800s.
The sale and lease back transaction will be supported by the Government of India guarantee in favour of the bank/institution/lessor, according to the document.
The guarantee will cover the lease rental obligation during the lease term and may include certain breakage costs and re-delivery conditions.
Earlier, in an interview to The Hindu, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said that despite the Rs 30,000 crore bailout package approved for Air India in 2012, the national carrier remains in a debt trap. “The performance of Air India in recent times has gone up. It is a good airline but its finances are bad,” the Union Minister told the daily.
On possible privatisation of the Maharaja, the Minister told the daily, "I would like Air India to survive and fly the Indian skies proudly. That’s my wish whether in the public or the private sector. But if you see it dying, you don’t want to let it die. That’s it. But I can’t commit the taxpayers’ money for eternity."
The daily further added that United Progress Alliance (UPA) government had finalised a plan to privatise Air India five years ago, but it did not take off as the then Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee, opposed the move. The privatisation proposal came on October 28, 2011, when a Group of Ministers in the UPA government sat down to decide Air India’s fate and approve a bailout package for the carrier. 

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