Air India Privatisation Process Is On In Full Swing, Says Civil Aviation Minister
The process for Air India's privatisation is on in full swing, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said, expecting it to be completed in the next few months.
The Air India sale is in the wider interest of the Indian aviation sector, he said.
"I expect that the privatisation process of Air India, the flag carrier, which is now full swing, to be completed in the coming months," Puri said at University of Birmingham. He was there to deliver an India Institute Annual Lecture on the teachings of Guru Nanak.
On why the government is offering a 100 percent stake in the airline, the minister said lessons have been learnt from the previous failed attempt of partially exiting the flag carrier. "It is in the interest of the Indian aviation sector. Governments should not be in the business of running airlines," he said.
The government is having a second go at Air India privatisation, as the airline is sitting on a debt pile of over Rs 58,000 crore, besides accumulated losses. Bids for Air India’s sale are likely to be called in November.
Puri firmly believes that the civil aviation sector will be a critical driver of economic growth in India in the coming decade. “Civil aviation is a critical growth area for India. I expect in the years to come a lot of foreign players will be showing interest.”
"I am hoping and confident that this will happen, that today we are the third-largest domestic civil aviation market but we will be the third-largest overall. The rate at which we are proceeding, our share of global traffic can only increase.” Puri said.
"Today India's GDP is $2.89 trillion and we are slowly but surely on a journey to become a $5 trillion economy by 2024 and $10 trillion economy by 2030,” he said.