The biggest challenge before the airline was the massive debt burden of Rs 52,000 Cr, whose servicing alone is costing the airline around Rs 5,800 Cr per annum. After debt servicing, the cash gap between operating and net profit was estimated around Rs 4,000 Cr. The carrier had incurred a loss of Rs 5,859.91 Cr in 2014-15.

Air India has partnered with IRCTC, which will sell the tickets. This move aims to give a boost to Air India’s sales. If they do not get a confirmed ticket, the passengers will be given an option to book Air India tickets within the next 24 hours. The AC first class passengers will be charged with the same fare while AC II passengers will be charged AC II fares plus Rs 1,500.

The government plans to form a four-to-five member panel, made up of officials from the finance ministry, the civil aviation ministry, the cabinet secretariat and the company, to consider selling a stake in Air India to meet its revenue target from state asset sales next fiscal year. Indebted Air India, which last made an annual profit in 2007, has seen its market share shrink in recent years amid rising competition from private carriers. It is now India’s third-largest airline by market share.