Air India sale: Jet Airways' boss Naresh Goyal says could bid for troubled national carrier

Jet Airways' Naresh Goyal, who recently ruled out a stake in the embattled Air India stake sale, said that his firm has not said it will not look at Air India. Though his focus, he emphasized was at what he termed as ‘looking at our business’, he did not rule out looking at Air India, a report in Bloomberg said quoting the chairman of Jet Airways in Manchester, England.

"We are looking at our own business,” Naresh Goyal said in an interview in Manchester, England. “But I am not saying that we will not look at Air India, I’ve never said that. Ultimately we will always see what is the best approach ahead of us, and for the country,” he said in an interview in Manchester.

Goyal was in Manchester which his airline had earlier announced would connect with Mumbai with a non-stop four days per week flight service, starting winters this year. The proposed flight, which will be the city-based private carrier's fifth service to the UK, is expected to open up travel between India and the north of England, starting from winters 2018, a release said on Friday.

The new flight will be operated with a 254-seater wide body Airbus A330-200 aircraft, the airline said.

 Air India sale: Jet Airways boss Naresh Goyal says could bid for troubled national carrier

Naresh Goyal, chairman, Jet Airways. Reuters

Earlier, in April, Jet Airways had shown no interest and had also reiterated why it was not keen on participating in a bid for Air India, that the government is keen on selling.

An AFP report quoted Amit Agarwal, deputy chief executive, Jet Airways as saying, “considering the terms of offer in the information memorandum and based on our review, we are not participating in the process.”

Recently, the government extended the deadline to receive initial bids for its stake in state-run carrier Air India to 31 May from 14 May, according to a notification issued by the Ministry of Civil Aviation. The qualified bidders for the beleaguered airline will be announced on 15 June, according to the statement.

The government, keen to sell the loss-making, debt-ridden airline, finalised plans in late March to divest a 76 per cent stake and offload about $5.1 billion of its debt. After the terms were disclosed, no company has come forward to say it is interested or to reaffirm previous interest, while Jet Airways and rival IndiGo, owned by InterGlobe Aviation, have already publicly opted out of the race, a Reuters report said.

The civil aviation ministry made public 160 queries it had received from interested bidders seeking clarity on the initial terms. These were mainly about the impact of the government’s decision to hold a 24 percent stake, the make-up of the airline’s debt and liabilities, its latest financial performance and workforce. the report said.

Air India, a once-thriving airline is being bolstered on tax payers’ money. It is estimated to have a debt burden of more than Rs 50,000 crore.

Updated Date: May 19, 2018 12:04:34 IST