Friday, June 02, 2017

Air India privatisation: FM Arun Jaitley meets Ashok Gajapathi Raju; decision likely in 3 months, say officials

New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and his Civil Aviation counterpart Ashok Gajapathi Raju today discussed the future course for debt-ridden Air India, with senior officials indicating that a decision on privatisation will be taken within three months. The meeting assumes significance with Jaitley pitching for disinvestment of Air India and government think tank NITI Aayog submitting its recommendations on making the carrier strong and viable.
“All options are being considered and the main objective is to make Air India a strong and viable entity,” Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey said after the meeting.The meeting between the ministers was attended by senior officials of both the ministries as well as Air India.
Staying afloat on little over Rs 30,000 crore bail-out package extended by the previous UPA regime, Air India is saddled with nearly Rs 50,000 crore debt and is in discussions with lenders on ways to restructure the loans. Earlier in the day, Jaitley said the civil aviation ministry has to explore various options for Air India on the basis of recommendations made by the NITI Aayog.
“We have received the recommendations from NITI Aayog and we are examining it. At this stage, we are considering all options and we cannot say as to what will be the final decision.”It will possibly take about three months to decide broadly how to proceed, which way to go, and so on,” Choubey told reporters. However, he did not disclose details about the NITI Aayog recommendations.
01/06/17 PTI/Financial Express