National carrier Air India suffered an average net loss of Rs 404 crore per month for the March-October period of 2012. This was found out when Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh Thursday reviewed the functioning of the national carrier.
An audit of the airline's books showed that the company had a cash inflow of Rs 1,348 crore per month, while the outflow due to high fuel cost was Rs 1,752 crore, leading to the cash deficit.
"Though there is an overall improvement in the performance of Air India, it is important that the revenue generated should meet the costs incurred," the minister said in a statement.
Singh asked Air India to go into minute operational details to cut the costs, including those incurred on overseas offices, salaries, fuel and office expenses.
"The minister directed to examine the necessity of deputing staff abroad for assisting Air India, embassies for ticketing, since now-a-days these facilities are available online," the statement said.
The minister asked Air India to negotiate with public sector oil marketing companies (OMCs) for the same discount as they are providing to international and domestic carriers.
Singh directed the airline's management that of the Rs 2,000 crore which Air India is to receive next month in the form of equity under budgetary support, Rs 500 crore must be utilised to clear all arrears of the employees.
The airline's management was told to explore possibility of operating to Bali and Istanbul on the newly acquired Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
Air India, which has three Dreamliners, is expecting five more by the end of the current fiscal and plans to deploy them to Sydney, Melbourne and Singapore.