Aviation Ministry to decide Air India’s future this week

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Kunwar Prithvi Singh Chauhan
Part time journalist, full-time observer. Editor-in-Chief at The Indian Wire. I cover updates related to business and startups.

Air India has been debt-ridden for years now. The total amount of debt it currently possesses has crossed ₹52,000 crores. In a bid to make the airline more efficient and profitable, the government has started to discuss possible ways. According to sources, the government is also open to disinvest in the national carrier, which means it is looking to find a buyer for the same.

Union finance minister, Arun Jaitley had recently hinted that the government is keen to disinvest in the airline. Also, the sources claim that Niti Aayog is preparing a report of recommendations for Air India and is likely to submit the report soon.

A highly placed source in aviation ministry told ET that the ministry will take a conclusive decision on how the recommendations could be implemented. Once the disinvestment is approved internally within aviation ministry, the matter will be taken for approval from the cabinet and finance ministry. Though nothing has been finalised yet, the ministry is seriously considering the move of selling Air India to a private player. However, one of the biggest concerns include whether anyone would be interested in buying an airline which is too much into debt.

The officials are also in talks with Tata Group. If the ministry plans to privatise the airline, Tata Group will be the most suitable choice for them. FYI, Indian Government had acquired Tata Airlines from Tata Group and renamed it as Air India. However, no such statement has been issued by Tata group on its interest in investing.

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