Mumbai: Air India has delayed the payment of salaries for the month of July to its employees, according to an official, even as the airline said the payments would be made by tomorrow.

The delay in salary payments also has taken place at a time when the government is working on the modalities for divesting stake in the national carrier.

When contacted, Air India spokesperson Dhananjay Kumar said, “salaries will be released by tomorrow”.

The airline, which has been in the red for long, has around 21,000 employees.

The salaries for the month of July are delayed. There is no official word on the delay. Now, the salaries are expected to be paid next week, the airline official said.

With the Cabinet giving “in-principle” approval for selling stake in the loss-making Air India, a ministerial panel is working on the final contours of the proposed disinvestment.

The airline has a debt burden of more than Rs 50,000 crore. The previous UPA government had extended bailout package worth little over Rs 30,000 crore to the national carrier for a ten-year period starting from 2012.

The civil aviation ministry is of the view that Air India’s current business is “not sustainable” as it is neither able to generate enough cash flow nor start repaying even the principal amount on its debt.