As the government’s effort to sell off Air India’s stake coming to an unexpected fail, the airline is now left with no funds to pay salaries. Its staffs are currently waiting for their May salaries even as the payments in the past few months were delayed as well.
According to a senior AI officials, there are two factors that caused the cash crunch in the organisation. He said, “Last year when the divestment process was set in motion, three banks which had sanctioned us Rs 1,000-crore loan withdrew that. We had to pay back Rs 1,000 crore of loan last year which has affected our liquidity. Secondly, AI was supposed to get Rs 2,500 crore this fiscal but has so far given only Rs 650 crore on the presumption that the Maharaja will get a buyer.”
“We have asked for equity infusion to be resumed. The government may give us guarantee for Rs 1,000-crore loan and if that happens, the loan will be revived. In that case, we will be able to pay salaries next week,” he added.
Not only in May, was the salary for April delayed too. However, AI pilots commented that their flying allowance (which form more than 80 percent of their total salary) have been delayed since March. It means that the employees have not received their pay for three months in a row.
“We are now at a point where promise or assurance of salary being given has no value. It is only when we get SMS alert from our bank that we know the salary has actually been paid,” said an employee.
When AI’s divestment bid reportedly failed, a government official had assured that the airline will not be in short of cash funds. However, whether that condition happens remains to be seen, Times of India reports.
“Punish those who brought AI to this state of penury. Maybe a few employees are also to blame for the current state. But today every single employee is facing an uncertain future. Politicians and bureaucrats have no stake in AI as even if the airline shuts down, they will happily move elsewhere. We urge Prime Minister Modi to come to our rescue,” said another employee.