The government on Friday hinted at providing some more time for divesting its stake in Air India.

“We will provide people with a little extra time that we lost because of the other questions. Let me say on record that the process is going extremely well. There is a lot of expression of interest. Following the publication of the Preliminary Information Memorandum a lot of entities have come and asked questions,” said Hardeep Puri, Minister of Civil Aviation, on Friday.

The Minister did not give details of how much more time will be provided. There has been a delay of 14 days as interested parties were earlier supposed to submit their written queries about the bidding process by February 22 which was extended till Friday evening (March 6).

Speaking to newspersons, Pradeep Singh Kharola, Secretary Civil Aviation, said, “It stays,” when asked whether the last date for submission of written queries from those interested in bidding for Air India is being extended.

Earlier, the government was hoping to identify the Qualified Interested Bidders (QIB) by end March so that these QIBs could put in their financial bids. Based on this the government would decide on Air India’s new owner.

The government plans to divest 100 per cent of its stake in Air India and AI Express and 50 per cent of its stake in Air India SATS Airports Services Private Ltd.