India's civil aviation ministry will shortly seek cabinet approval to infuse equity into ailing state-owned carrier Air India.

The civil aviation minister Praful Patel told reporters after in New Delhi that the aim is to reduce Air India's high debt levels, according to Indian media reports. A time frame for the move was not specified.

Air India made a loss of around 50 billion Indian rupees ($1 billion) for the year to 31 March, Patel said earlier this year. It has been losing money for years, and has asked the government for an equity infusion of 12.31 billion Indian rupees and a soft loan of 27.5 billion Indian rupees that will be repaid over 15 years.

The government, in turn, has asked it to come up with a cost-cutting and restructuring programme that will help it to return to profitability.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news