Turkish ground handling company Celebi will invest in India irrespective of whether it is successful in taking over the ground handling activities of Air India. Celebi is currently carrying out ground handling activities in Delhi, Mumbai, Kozhikode and Ahmedabad.

In August last year, soon after the government announced its intention to divest Air India and its subsidiaries, including its ground handling entity, Celebi had put in an unsolicited bid for acquiring Air India Transport Services Ltd, the company which provides ground handling services for Air India.

"Air India option is one of the options for investing in India. (But) Air India will be decided by a bidding process. So we cannot bind ourselves only with that option. Of course, if we get that business most of the areas will be covered.  Even if we do not get Air India, there is still an opportunity to grow in different destinations,” Canan Celebioglu, Member, Celebi Aviation Holding Inc, said.

Company officials indicated that they need clarity on at least three issues -- how the company will be structured, the future value in tenure that the company delivers and the future of Air India's employees.

“Today Air India has grandfather rights at all the airports but for how long is that (going to be)? The company (AITSL) enjoys the base of Air India as it is an assured business but whom Air India gets sold to is not known. So a big question is that if it goes to airline A so then that becomes the base… all these things need to be addressed as a responsible investor,” Murali Ramachandran, Chief Executive Officer, India, Celebi Aviation Holding Inc, added.

Celebioglu is of the opinion that if the government is to mandate that whichever company is successful in its bid for AITSL also has to retain the existing staff strength then the price which is being quoted as the winning bid will be affected.

"If the government mandates keeping personnel then we will need to know for how long. This will affect the pricing of the company. If they are asking for maximum price and (asking us to) keep the personnel this will not match. Not only keeping the personnel is an issue but also their indemnity,” Celebioglu pointed out.