Govt to privatise Air India in phases; Qatar Airways, IndiGo refute reports about a joint bid

The government is planning to execute the disinvestment process of the troubled Air India group in phases, and separate expressions of interest (EoIs) will be issued for each entity under the corporation, according to a media report.

The EoIs are likely to be issued by the end of this month. The government will kick off the exercise with that of the parent airline along with Air India Charters, which operates low-cost flights under the Air India Express brand name, said a Moneycontrol report.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

"Besides the parent and two subsidiaries that operate flights, there are three other arms that are all different businesses of varying scale. The business operations of the companies who will be interested in bidding for those subsidiaries will also be different......," an official familiar with the development told Moneycontrol.  

The government aims to split the airline into four different entities and hopes to sell each entity.

Meanwhile, IndiGo and Qatar Airways have denied a report that said the two firms would table a joint-bid for Air India, even as the government is on the verge of announcing the modalities for the sale of the debt-ridden national carrier.

"Qatar Airways firmly denies it is involved in any talks regarding the acquisition of Air India," it said in a statement on Wednesday.

Budget airline IndiGo said that it is not in any "ongoing discussions" with any Gulf-based carrier for an Air India bid, the IANS reported. "While IndiGo normally doesn't respond to rumors, in this particular instance, we would like to state that there are no ongoing discussions of this nature," the airline said in a statement on Wednesday.

In June 2017, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) gave its in-principle approval for the strategic divestment of Air India, which has a debt burden of over Rs 50,000 crore. The government expects to complete the privatisation of Air India this year and is planning to retain a 24 percent stake in the carrier.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Mar 22, 2018 14:12:20 IST

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