An Air India Airbus SAS 320 aircraft is displayed at the India Aviation 2010 conference in Hyderabad, India. (Photographer: Namas Bhojani/Bloomberg)

Air India Divestment: Government To Invite Initial Bids In Next Few Weeks

The government is committed to expediting the process of Air India’s disinvestment and is likely to invite Expressions of Interest from interested parties in the next few weeks, Civil Aviation Secretary RN Choubey said today.

At the inaugural ceremony of the four-day aviation event ‘Wings India 2018’, Choubey said that a revised EoI for disinvestment in Pawan Hans is also expected to be floated around the same time.

“Our ministry is presently engaged in the important task of finding buyers for Air India, its subsidiaries and Pawan Hans. We are committed to take it forward very very fast,” he said.

We expect that the EoIs for Air India should come out possibly in the next couple of weeks. A revised EoI for Pawan Hans will also be coming forward around the same time.
RN Choubey, Civil Aviation Secretary

Last year in June, the Union Cabinet had approved privatisation of the debt-laden national carrier, which is staying afloat on the taxpayers’ money.

A group headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has been appointed to chalk out the strategy for Air India’s stake sale.

Choubey said that India’s domestic air passenger traffic has grown over 20 percent in the last three years. However, because of the increasing oil prices, the growth this fiscal is expected to be around 17.5 percent.

Nevertheless, if oil prices remain below $80 per barrel, the travel demand is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 15 percent over the next 20 years, he said.

The government’s regional air connectivity scheme UDAN has further boosted traffic growth in the country, Choubey said. “As many as 56 new airports have been added into the network in the last two years,” he said.

Besides, many more airports are expected to be operational in the next six to eight months as by that time the second phase of UDAN will also take off, he added.