Thursday, April 12, 2018

Air India suitors seek flexibility to change consortium members

New Delhi: The Tata Group remains in the race for Air India, the debt-laden national carrier on which IndiGoNSE -2.28 %, Jet Airways and Emirates are no longer keen. Other airlines still interested in participating in the privatisation of Air India include Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines.

Reuters on Wednesday reported that the Tata Group is not interested in bidding for Air India. But sources close to the development told ET that the Tatas have not pulled out, and are still interested in acquiring Air India along with a foreign partner.

Meanwhile, in another move that will allow bidders to change members between the initial and final bidding stages, likely suitors for Air India have sought a relaxation in the norms for consortia participating in the debt-laden carrier’s privatisation, people directly briefed on the matter told ET.

Other issues raised by likely bidders pertain to the government’s rights on the residual 24% stake in the entity, and to provisions available on integrating their existing business with Air India.

“The query on integration of their existing airline business with Air India includes synchronisation of flights, which could be through code shares or interline agreements. This should not be a problem and one is hopeful that the government would allow such an arrangement,” said a source close to the transaction.
12/04/18 Mohit Bhalla/Economic Times