HW English

No bids for Air India so far, government refuses to extend deadline

The government will not extend the May 31 deadline it had set for submission of Expressions of Interest (EoIs) in Air India, Civil Aviation Secretary RN Chaubey said. No bids were received so far from any private players, he added. The deadline was earlier extended from May 14 to May 31.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, keen to sell the loss-making, debt-ridden airline, finalised plans in late March to divest a 76 percent stake and offload about $5.1 billion of its debt.

The government plans to divest a 76 percent stake in the loss-making, state-owned carrier. The state-owned airline is laden with debts running into thousands of crores. Despite a few players making initial queries regarding the sale of the majority stake, there haven’t been any bids so far. The government plans to announce the qualified bids, if they are any, on June 15.

After the terms were disclosed, no company has come forward to say it is interested or to reaffirm previous interest, while Jet Airways and rival IndiGo, owned by InterGlobe Aviation, have already publicly opted out of the race.

The government has bundled the sale of 76 percent in Air India along with 100 percent stake in Air India Express Ltd, its low-cost international carrier, and 50 percent in Air India SATS Airport Services Pvt Ltd. It doesn’t plan on selling individual operations of the airline separately.

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