Thursday, November 28, 2019

Air India will have to close if not privatised: Aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri

New Delhi: India’s state-run airline will have to cease operations if it is not privatised, the country’s junior minister for civil aviation said in parliament on Wednesday, in response to a lawmaker’s question on the subject.

A group of officials, including India’s home and finance ministers, is finalising the process of inviting bids from the private sector for the loss-making national carrier.

The company has lucrative landing slots in India and across the world, but has been a burden on the exchequer for years.

Officials are still deliberating over some details, said junior Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri. "Once they are finalised, the government will invite bids, he said, adding that India is committed to selling the company," he said.

Last year it failed to attract any bidders when it tried to sell a 76 per cent stake in the airline and offload about $5.1 billion of Air India’s debt.

It is now re-evaluating some of the terms and is open to selling the airline in its entirety, Hardeep Singh Puri said in a written response to a separate question in parliament today.

It is also significantly reducing its debt to make it more attractive.
28/11/19 PTI/India Today
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