Thursday, March 25, 2021

Air India privatisation will bring in much-needed reforms: IATA

Air India’s divestment will bring in much-needed reforms in the aviation sector as the proposed privatisation will equalise the competitive landscape in the country, the head of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) told ET.

“It will improve the competitive condition in India because no one will be able to claim that they have special support from the government… I have heard many operators complain about the support received by the flag carrier,” Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and CEO of IATA, said in an interview. “It (divestment of AI) will equalise the competitive landscape in the country.”

The government is in the process of selling 100% of Air India and its low-cost international subsidiary Air India Express, as well as 50% in the ground-handling unit AISATS. It has received initial inquiries from multiple parties after a failed divestment attempt in 2018 and several extensions in 2020.

While many in the industry say that this may not be the right time to divest stake, the government has maintained that the interest shown by prospective buyers is encouraging and New Delhi is likely to ask for financial bids by March-end.

25/03/21 Mihir Mishra/Economic Times

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