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Govt weighing all options for reviving Air India fortunes

Ashwini Phadnis New Delhi | Updated on January 12, 2018

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A road map for the revival of Air India is likely to emerge in the next three months, a senior official of the Ministry of Civil Aviation said on Tuesday.

The official who declined to be identifed said that the Niti Aayog had sent a set of recommendation to the Ministry to examine various options for the revival of the fortunes of the state-owned airline. The Government has already pumped in over ₹25,000 crore into Air India and is committed to pump in another ₹25,000 crore as part of a turn around plan which was approved in late 2000 under the Manmohan Singh Government.

The thinking in the current Government seems to be that it might be a good idea to divest or bring in a strategic partner for Air India and release the funds promised for the state owned airline for other priority programmes of the Modi Government.

Meanwhile, Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Union Civil Aviation Minister said that the Government is examining all options for the revival of Air India. Speaking to newspersons at a function to mark three years of the Modi Government, Raju said ``all course of action is being examined by us (to revive the fortunes of Air India). We have not closed any option.

Both the senior Minister and Jayant Sinha, the Minister of State for Civil Aviation declined to get into specifics including anwering a question on whether a foreign airline will be allowed to pick a stake in Air India. Currently the foreign Direct Investment rules allowa foreign airline to hold a 49 per cent stake in a domestic airline. This provision has been used by Singapore Airlines to acquire a 49 per cent stake in Vistara with Tata Sons acquiring the remaining 51 per cent. Similarly, AirAsia Berhad used this provision to launch AirAsia India.

Published on May 30, 2017

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