Air India Sells Planes to Grab Rs. 7000 crore

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New Delhi: Air India has grabbed up Rs 7,000 crore by selling nine of its 21 Dreamliner planes to a Singaporean lessor.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.

A majority of these funds will go into repayment of the bridge loan availed earlier for purchasing these Boeing 787-800s, airline sources said.

Air India has 131 aircraft in its fleet, consisting of Boeing, Airbus and ATR planes as well as CRJs. Of these, 21 are Boeing 787-800s. Earlier too, A I had sold and leased back 12 Dream liners under a similar arrangement.

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“Air India has sold all the nine Dream liners to one Singaporean lessor for a little over Rs 7,000 crore. These planes have now been taken back on lease by the same firm,” says Air India sources.

Sources said that, from the total proceeds, about Rs 6,000 crore will be used for repayment of the bridge loan taken against these planes at the time of acquisition while the remaining Rs 1,000 crore will be utilised for other purposes.

The airline is saddled with a debt of about Rs 40,000 crore that includes a long-term loan taken for aircraft purchase and working capital loan. It has accumulated a loss of close to Rs 30,000 crore. The airline, however, is expected to report around Rs six crore operating profit this fiscal.

Air India had last month invited bids from domestic and international banks /financial institutions to sell these planes.

Surviving on aRs 30,000 crore bailout package from the parent, Government of India, Air India had reported a net loss of Rs 5,547.47 crore in the last fiscal on the back of total revenues of Rs 19,781 crore.