- Aircraft will be used to ferry President, Vice President, Prime Minister
- Cost for modification estimated at over Rs 1,160 crore
- Air India has a debt burden of more than Rs. 50,000 crore
As part of the modification of the aircraft for VVIPs, two Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft are set to undergo re-configuration and are to be delivered in January 2018. In a tender document, Air India said it would like to avail a bridge loan of up to $180 million to finance the cost of modification.
"Government of India has indicated that they would issue its guarantee for the financing cost of modification of the two B777-300 ER aircraft for a period of 12 months or less," according to the document issued last week.
These loans would further increase the debt level of Air India, which has a debt burden of more than Rs. 50,000 crore.
Earlier this year, the government had given in-principle approval for strategic disinvestment of Air India and five of its subsidiaries. A ministerial panel under Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is working on the modalities for strategic disinvestment of the flag carrier and its five subsidiaries.
In 2006, Air India placed orders with Boeing for 68 aircraft - 27 Dreamliner aircraft, 15 B777-300 ER, eight B777-200 LR and 18 B737-800 aircraft.
Of these, the state-run carrier has already taken the delivery of 65 planes. At present, the flagship airline has a fleet of 115 aircraft.
(With agency inputs)