What about the villas, flats? Mystery over Air India's foreign properties

Air India has kept prime properties owned by it with the banking consortium, the airline's mortgage document shows. But, according to the amalgamation document of Air India and Indian Airlines reviewed by Business Standard, it seems that the national carrier and the erstwhile Indian Airlines had a host of other properties across the world whose ownership status is presently unclear. None of these properties are pledged with banks owed money by Air India. 

A questionnaire sent to Air India's spokesperson did not elicit a response till the time of publication. At the time of the amalgamation in 2007, Air India had identified several villas, plots of land and apartments owned by it across the world. The  amalgamation document lists a villa and two apartments owned in Hong Kong — a 2,774-square feet villa at Villa Monte Rosa, at Stubbs Road, and an apartment at Woodlands Heights. It also owns premium office space in Singapore's UIC building.

Air India also listed Europe properties in the UK and France — office space in London's Berkshire and a 1,765-square feet apartment in Paris. Further, the national airline listed two apartments in the Empire Cooperative in Tokyo, Japan, in addition to a 1.2-acre estate at Mugambo Road in Nairobi, Kenya.

While the mortgage document of Air India lists its prime office premises in Delhi, the amalgamation document shows it owned many more properties in Mumbai in 2007. It owned 52 apartments, in addition to land, in India's financial capital. These include apartments in upmarket Cuffe Parade, Peddar Road and Altamount Road in South Mumbai. It also owned apartments in Prabhadevi, Pali Hill and Malad in the city's suburbs. Four apartments in Lonavala Holiday Home, a hill station an hour's drive from Mumbai, are also shown as owned by the airline. In addition, the airline owns flats in Ahmedabad and Chennai, along with land at Bengaluru airport.

Similarly, Indian Airlines is also shown to own significant tracts of land and other properties across India where the airline operated before its merger with Air India. According to the terms of the merger, these properties would have been transferred to Air India. The document states, "With effect from the date when the amalgamation scheme becomes effective, all land and the buildings on it held by the transferor company (Air India & Indian Airlines) shall be vested in or deemed to have been vested in the transferee company (National Aviation Company of India Limited, later rechristened Air India Limited) and shall belong to the transferee company."

The properties listed by India Airlines as being owned by it before the merger include a 420-square metre plot of land at DLF Qutub Enclave, Gurugram, in addition to a housing colony in Amritsar. In the Eastern region, Indian Airlines owned vast tracts of land in Kolkata, Agartala, Imphal, and Bhubaneswar. In the Southern region, it held land and property in Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Cochin, and Thiruvananthapuram. In the Western region, Indian Airlines' properties were spread across smaller towns and big cities — booking offices in Bhavnagar, staff quarters in Bhuj, and apartments in Mangalore.

In Air India's mortgage document, one of the notable properties owned by it in 2007, which is also shown pledged to banks, is its plot of land at DLF Qutub Enclave in Gurugram.