The Centre has taken the decision to pick the future owners for Air India by May-end. At a meeting on March 25 it was decided that the government will close the financial bids within 64 days, post which the final announcement will be made, said Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri.
“There was a meeting yesterday and it has been decided that we will close the financial bids within 64 days. Post that, it will be the decision and announcement on who gets it (Air India)…,” he said at a Times Now event.
If the sale is realised, it will be the biggest reform in India’s aviation sector. The current privatisation process lagged because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile, the process of inviting financial bids will begin soon and the Centre’s goal is to wrap up the disinvestment process of Air India by the end of this calendar year.
Puri further informed that once the new owners of the national carrier are decided by June, it will take the government another six months to completely handover the airline.
The minister stated that previous attempts to privatise Air India were half-hearted and that the airline will find takers this time since it is a first-rate asset.
“The new owners of the airline will be able to run the airlines with a management that knows how to run an airline and by not repeating the mistakes made in the past. The government is losing money by running the airline, which could otherwise be used for developing other sectors like roads, rural development, etc.,” Puri added.
Air India has shortlisted bids from the Tata Group as well as a consortium led by SpiceJet Chairman Ajay Singh in his personal capacity.