Friday, March 26, 2021

SpiceJet chairman Ajay Singh poised to bid for Air India, partners with Ras Al Khaimah, Ankur Bhatia

New Delhi: Low-cost airline SpiceJet chairman Ajay Singh has reportedly partnered with Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority and Ankur Bhatia, promoter of Delhi-based Bird Group, a technology provider to the travel and aviation industry, to take over the running of the ailing national carrier Air India. It has been reported that salt-to-software conglomerate Tata group and SpiceJet have been shortlisted for the bid to buy out cash-strapped Air India.

It is worth mentioning that the race to acquire Air India has been narrowed down to the Tata group and SpiceJet. Earlier, the proposal of the employees of Air India that had put in an Expression of Interest (EoI) for the privatisation of the airline was rejected because they were not able to meet the eligibility requirements. The Centre is offloading its entire 100 per cent stake in the beleaguered carrier that has been in losses ever since its 2007 merger with domestic operator Indian Airlines.

Citing unnamed sources, ET reported that both Singh and Bhatia have bid in their personal capacity. “They are likely to together hold a majority stake in Air India, if they get the airline,” a person familiar with the matter told the financial daily on the condition of anonymity. Several media reports earlier mentioned that Singh and two other investors had evinced interest in acquiring embattled Air India.

Tata Sons—the holding company of the $113-billion Tata group—has submitted an EoI, and the Mumbai-based conglomerate is expected to bid through Air Asia India. However, the Tatas’ joint venture partner in Vistara, Singapore International Airlines, is not interested to become a partner for the bid.

Kolkata-based businessman Pawan Ruia has not qualified for the second stage of the sale process for the ailing carrier.


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