Air India Stake Sale: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Hints At Expeditious Decision


New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday indicated that an expeditious decision would be taken on Air India disinvestment, with at least two parties having expressed interest in buying stake in the national carrier. A group of ministers, headed by Mr Jaitley, is working on the modalities of the strategic disinvestment of debt-laden Air India, which has been making losses for long. “These decisions are to be taken expeditiously but in their normal course,” Mr Jaitley told reporters in response to a query about the process of Air India stake sale.

The Union Cabinet had in June given in-principle approval for strategic disinvestment of the carrier and its five subsidiaries.

Aviation services provider Bird Group has written to the government expressing interest in acquiring Air India’s ground handling subsidiary AIATSL, Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey told reporters earlier in the day.

“After IndiGo, Bird Group has written a letter with an expression of interest in Air India,” he said.

Surviving on taxpayers’ money, the airline has been in the red for long and various proposals, including government think tank Niti Aayog’s suggestion for complete privatisation, have been made.

The airline has a debt of more than Rs 52,000 crore and is surviving on a Rs 30,000-crore bailout package extended by the previous UPA government in 2012.


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