Air India Fails To Attract Any Bid As The Government Plans To Divest It


New Delhi: Till Wednesday, the government had not received any bids for Air India (AI), with the expression of interest (EoI) required to be submitted by 5 pm on Thursday. Aviation secretary R N Choubey said the deadline for submitting the EoI will not be extended. The original deadline was May 14, which was extended to the month-end.

“As normally happens, we are looking forward to the bids coming in at the last hour of the last day. The timeline will not be extended. Further decisions (on AI sale) will be taken by the alternative mechanism,” Choubey said. Alternative mechanism is a group of ministers, which is headed by the finance minister, formed for divesting the Maharaja.

Choubey had earlier made it clear that AI will not be sold unless the government gets a right price for it. “The government has the right to sell or not to sell Air India if the bid price is found to be inadequate,” he had recently said.The government had last year decided to sell AI, which has a debt of almost Rs 50,000 crore. Two months back, the Modi administration offered to sell 76% of Air India. Of AI’s total debt, bidders for the airline arm — AI, AI Express and AI-SATS (airport service company) — will have to take over debt of Rs 24,576 crore and current liabilities of Rs 8,816 crore or a total burden of Rs 33,392 crore.

IndiGo was the only one to formally express interest in AI’s international operations but backed out later when the terms said the bidder will need to take over the entire — including domestic — flights of AI and AI Express. Tata Group and Jet are seen as other potential bidders along with some international airlines.

AI is a national disgrace used and misused by MLAs and MPs who dont pay for their tickets handle the air hostesses abuse the staff and would still expect the same previelages after it is no...

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