Friday, October 18, 2019

Government set to halve Air India baggage before selloff

New Delhi: The government is all set to repay a big chunk of Air India’s loans, removing a key hurdle in the privatisation of the stricken public sector carrier that was once the pride of India’s skies.
It has finished raising Rs 22,000 crore through issue of bonds, of which Rs 7,985 crore was raised on Thursday. This along with the transfer of Rs 7,464 crore of local bonds to the accounts of Air India Asset Holdings (AIAHL) from Air India will almost halve the carrier’s nearly Rs 58,000 crore loans.
The government plans to sell Air India along with low-cost international subsidiary Air India Express and its 50% stake in ground handling company Air India Singapore Airport Terminal Services Ltd (AISATS). Subsidiaries like regional airline Alliance Air, Air India Engineering Services Ltd (AIESL) and ground handling arm Air India Air Transport Services Ltd (AIATSL) will be sold separately.
“These decisions have been taken, as it is going to be the same as last year and there is no change in the format,” said a senior government official, who did not want to be identified.
The Air India board is set to meet on October 22 to clear the consolidated account statement for 2018-19, which will start the process of divestment. Expressions of Interest (EoI) will be issued in November.
18/10/19 Mihir Mishra/Economic Times
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