Air India Disinvestment Takes Off: 10 Things To Know

After scrutiny of the EoIs, Qualified Interested Bidders will be identified, who can participate in the second stage of the process which will involve the Request for Proposal (RFP). On Wednesday, the Civil Aviation Ministry came out with the preliminary information memorandum for seeking Expression of Interest (EoI) for the strategic disinvestment of Air India.

The Communist Party of India (CPI) today termed "suicidal" the government's decision to privatise Air India and demanded it to roll-back the move.

To remind you, the government will retain a 24 per cent stake in the airline post privatisation.

India's biggest airline, Indigo, has expressed an interest in the proposal and an undisclosed foreign buyer is also said to be looking at the deal.

Besides, the over 2,500 global arrival and departure slots - including 72 in American and Canadian airports - and over 3,700 slots at airports in India, is just one of the reasons why most worldwide airlines should consider Air India as a good investment opportunity.

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But its debt burden of about $8 billion and a bloated cost structure have been a concern. This is after the government would have taken out roughly Rs 25,000 crore of debt and placed it in a new entity called Air India Asset Holding Ltd, which will also house some land assets of Air India as well the airlines collection of art and antiques.

The money that was pumped in Air India earlier would be used for public welfare sectors like healthcare and farmers, Sinha said. According to the PIM, Air India has 16,834 employees as on December 1, 2017 of which 11,214 are permanent employees.

Among the permanent staff, as many as 4,217 are set to retire in the next five years, it added. The likes of Air India, BSNL, Scooters India and Hindustan Newsprint, on the other hand, must be treated the same way as Bhushan Steel, Binani Cement, Lanco Infratech or Alok Industries.

Singapore operates a joint venture with Tata Group and told The Times of India this remained its priority. The government must lose no time in enabling that, while being open to even restructuring or reducing the airline's debts to make it an attractive buy.

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