Air India: Private bidder will be allowed to take 51% stake, says Sinha

Ashwini Phadnis New Delhi | Updated on February 02, 2018 Published on February 02, 2018

Management control will be transferred into private hands.

Privatisation process to be completed by December

Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Aviation, said on Friday a private bidder will be allowed to pick up 51 per cent or more stake in Air India. He said the management control will be transferred into private hands. Apart from IndiGo, a foreign airline has sent a confidential letter showing interest in Air India. The Minister declined to from say from which region or part of the world the foreign airline was. The successful bidder will be announced by end June and the entire legal process of privatisation of Air India will be completed by December this year.

On June 28, 2017, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, gave its approval for the strategic disinvestment of Air India and five of its subsidiaries based on the recommendations of Core Group of Secretaries on Disinvestment.

The Cabinet also approved the constitution of an Air India-specific Alternative Mechanism headed by the Minister of Finance including the Minister for Civil Aviation and such other Minister(s) to guide the process of the airline’s strategic disinvestment from time to time and decide on the treatment of its unsustainable debt, hiving off certain assets to a shell company, the quantum of disinvestment and the universe of bidders.

Giving a fillip to the divestment process, the Finance Ministry notified the Union Cabinet’s decision of January this year to allow a foreign airline to pick up a stake of up to 49 per cent in Air India.

The Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation recently said in Mumbai that up to four Indian carriers including Jet Airways, IndiGo, SpiceJet and Vistara could express an interest in buying a stake in Air India. IndiGo has already written to the Government showing its interest in picking up a stake in the airline.

The Delhi-based Bird Group has written to the Government saying that it is interested in the Ground Handling activity which Air India is carrying out.

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Published on February 02, 2018
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