JAKARTA, June 12 Indonesia's government wants to
rescue grounded domestic carrier PT Merpati Nusantara Airlines,
the country's chief economic minister said, potentially by
converting its heavy debts into equity, a cheaper solution than
allowing the state-owned airline to go bankrupt.
Merpati, struggling to pay insurance, employee salaries and
fuel bills, hasn't been permitted to operate flights since
February. "We know that Merpati is facing difficulties
(repaying) its debts, so we will continue with efforts to rescue
it," chief economic minister Chairul Tanjung said on Thursday
after a meeting with state-owned enterprises minister Dahlan
Iskan in Jakarta.
The company has more than 6 trillion rupiah ($509 million)
in debt. The government and other state-owned companies have
decided not to give any more loans to Merpati, deputy
state-owned enterprises minister Wahyu Hidayat said in February.
($1 = 11,795 rupiah)
(Reporting by Fathiyah Dahrul and Fergus Jensen; Editing by