Centre to sell 76% stake in Air India

Centre to sell 76% stake in Air India

What Vajpayee had started 18 years ago might finally be realised this year. In the same matter, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley held a high-level meeting to finalise the Air India disinvestment plan.

The government will sell 76% of Air India Ltd, according to a document released by the civil aviation ministry on Wednesday.

The 24% stake that the government retains is their attempt to be prepared to cash in on any future improvement in the fortunes of Air India.

The company had more than 11,000 employees, 115 air planes and served more than 36 destinations has been going through debts and losses.

Starting off the disinvestment exercise - a major initiative of the NDA government - Expression of Interest (EoI) has been sought from various entities, including foreign airlines. This is a significant advantage compared to any new player looking to enter or an existing player looking to expand into the Indian market. Other carriers which are reportedly inclined towards acquiring Air India include Jet Airways, SpiceJet and Tata group-promoted Vistara.

The idea behind the AI stake sale is that the new owner of the company will hopefully revive the company and turn it profitable.

Air France-KLM and Delta Air Lines Inc. may join the fray, according to local media reports, together with Jet Airways India Ltd., which has been dethroned by IndiGo as the nation's top carrier.

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Kevin and Amy Sharp informed their family members in Iowa that they had arrived safely at their vacation condominium on March 15. The family had been scheduled to return to the USA on Wednesday, and their relatives reported them missing early Friday morning.

"The permit that Saudi gave to Air India to fly over its territory to Israel is a global precedent", Eli Defes, the chairman of El Al's board, said in an interview last week at the airline's offices at Ben Gurion Airport.

Among the permanent staff, as many as 4,217 are set to retire in the next five years, it added.

So Prime Minister Narendra Modi will win plaudits by selling Air India Ltd., the national carrier, to a new controlling shareholder.

The Air India disinvestment transaction will involve Air India, its low-priced arm Air India Express and Air India SATS Airport Services Pvt Ltd.

The airline is under a massive debt burden of around Rs 50,000 crore (around $8 billion). In case of domestic airlines with a negative net worth, the consortium's ownership will be restricted to 51 percent.

Such conditions appear to open the playing field for everyone from SpiceJet to Jet Airways.

In the second stage, the highest bidder would be declared as the buyer after requisite security clearances.

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