An Air India Airbus SAS 320 aircraft is displayed (Photographer: Namas Bhojani/Bloomberg)

May Not Sell Air India If Bid Price Is Inadequate, Says Aviation Secretary

Civil Aviation Secretary RN Choubey today said the government could decide against selling state-run Air India if it does not get an “adequate” price for it.

“The government has the right to sell or not to sell Air India if the bid price is found to be inadequate,” Choubey told reporters, even as he expressed confidence that the ailing airline will fetch a good price.

While the deadline for submission of expressions of interest ends on May 31, the Secretary said the request for proposal could be issued after June 15.

He said the highest bidder for the airline would be known by the the end of August. But the highest bidder may not be the successful one. “Though the transaction advisor (Ernst & Young) will assess the enterprise value, the right price for the airline will be decided by us.” The government intends to complete the disinvestment process by the end of this year, he added.

Also read: Air India Could Shut Down If Not Divested, Warns Consultancy Firm CAPA

The government had on March 28 kicked off the disinvestment process of the debt-laden national carrier with the issue of the preliminary information memorandum for the proposed sale of up to 76 percent stake in it along with management control to private entities.

The government also made it clear that it would have the rights of a “minority shareholder” with 24 percent stake in Air India post disinvestment.

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