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Air India’s divestment schedule is on track: Jayant Sinha 

The Economic Times , Mar 10, 2018

The divestment process of state-owned air carrier Air India was very much on track in terms of timelines, said civil aviation junior minister Jayant Sinha.

Admitting the delays in expression of interest (EoI) process, he attributed it to a number of important issues that the ministry had to sort through and process to obtain approval from the alternative mechanism chaired by the finance minister.

“That is the process that we are going through right now and as so as we have the go ahead from the alternative mechanism, the expression of interest will be issued,” said the minister.

He spoke to journalists in Hyderabad on Friday on the sidelines of ‘Wings India 2018’, the four-day International Exhibition & Conference on Civil Aviation, organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

“Our timelines are very clear. Our goal is to award it by the end of June and to have the whole transaction closed and done of the transfer of airline to the private sector by end of this calendar year,” said Sinha. “We are absolutely on track.” On the reported interest shown by certain foreign airlines to bid for acquiring Air India, the minister said, “It’s a confidential process and I cannot speak on who has decided to bid or not bid. If the bidders want to go public, they are of course welcome to do so. But as far as the ministry is concerned, we are going through on a confidential process.”

The minister refused to divulge details such as the likely percentage of stake sale or the quantum of funds to be raised through the divestment. “That will be decided by the alternative mechanism and the EoI will have all those details.”

On the safety concerns over new engines of Pratt & Whitney in A320 aircraft, the minister said the ministry was working closely with safety regulators around the world to decide on the best course of action for the Pratt & Whitney neo engine and put in place appropriate safety measures for that engine.



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