Indian government stands for “fast” disinvestment of Air India
The process of compiling details of Air India's real estate assets has already started and the Indian government wants the disinvestment of the carrier to be completed “fast”, Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey informed on November 14, 2017.
“Our intention is to do it very, very fast, ” the Economic Times quotes Civil Aviation Secretary. “On that, we are committed. We are serious and we want to do it fast”.
In order to reanimate the troubled Air India, which is under a massive debt burden of $8 billion, the country's government is working on the plan of its strategic disinvestment. Indian ministers are developing the general outline of the process.
After a $3.6 billion bailout could not fix the situation of the loss-making airline, in March 2017, the Indian government announced the decision to recover Air India within five years by selling a 51% share. As for now, the transaction and legal advisers for the proposed stake sale are being finalized. According to Choubey, the process of compiling the details is going on.
In June 2017, IndiGo, India's largest low-cost carrier, and 41% market-share holder expressed an official interest in buying the debt-ridden national flag carrier, but only if it is profitable. The Tata Group conglomerate (Tata) is also considering the option of buying the carrier, N. Chandrasekaran, chairman of Tata group’s holding company Tata Sons, said in October 2017.
On November 14, on the sidelines of an event on the second round of bidding of air regional connectivity scheme Udan, Choubey disclosed, that regional provider of gateway services and food solutions SATS has expressed interest in buying Air India's ground handling unit, New18.com informs. SATS already has a joint venture with Air India - AISATS - that operates out of five airports at Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mangaluru, and Thiruvananthapuram.
Earlier, Indian business conglomerate Bird Group and Celebi Aviation Holding also have shown similar interest in buying out the Air India Air Transport Service.
However, Civil Aviation Secretary noted that any decision to sell Air India's subsidiaries together or separately will be taken by the Indian government.
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