Thursday, August 17, 2017

Air India sale process to be completed before year-end

The government plans to wrap up the disinvestment in state-run carrier Air India before end of the year and the preference is veering towards a "domestic buyer" for the debt-laden airline.
The Union Cabinet gave an in-principle approval for strategic disinvestment in Air India in June and a panel of ministers headed by finance minister Arun Jaitley is now devising the strategy for executing the sale.
"We will complete the process before the year-end. There is no choice but to privatise it," a government source told TOI.While no final decision has been taken, the source said the preference so far is for a "domestic buyer." Some foreign companies including airlines have informally expressed interest in buying Air India.
Disinvestment of Air India gathered pace after the government's think tank NITI Aayog recommended up to 100% stake sale, along with writing off its debt. Experts say it would be a difficult task to undertake a stake sale in the airline in the run up to 2019 general elections.
17/08/17 Dipak K Dash and Surojit Gupta/Times of India