Friday, April 06, 2018

Air India privatisation: IndiGo walks out of race for domestic operations

New Delhi: IndiGo, India’s largest airline, has pulled out of the race for Air India, dealing a blow to the government’s disinvestment plans. IndiGo was the only airline that had officially expressed an interest to buy the state-owned carrier.

IndiGo said it was pulling out as it was not interested in taking over Air India’s domestic operations. Last year, IndiGo had made it clear it was primarily interested in Air India’s international business and its low-cost subsidiary Air India Express, which operates in West Asia. “Quite simply, we are interested in the airline operations of Air India. And more specifically, we are focused narrowly on Air India’s international operations and Air India Express,” IndiGo founder Rahul Bhatia had said.

However, the government did not demerge Air India’s business and instead decided to sell the integrated airline along with Air India Express and its ground-handling joint venture AISATS.

“From day one, IndiGo has expressed its interest primarily in the acquisition of Air India’s international operations and Air India Express. However, that option is not available under the government’s current divestiture plans for Air India,” said Aditya Ghosh, president and whole-time director, IndiGo. “Also, as we have communicated before, we do not believe that we have the capability to take on the task of acquiring and successfully turning around all of Air India’s airline operations.”
06/04/18 Arindam Majumder/Business Standard