'Centre to invite initial bids for Air India in a couple of weeks'
The Hindu , Mar 09, 2018
Civil Aviation Secretary R.N. Choubey on Thursday said the Ministry was engaged in the “important task” of finding buyers for Air India and its subsidiaries as well as for Pawan Hans. He said he expected the expressions of interest to be issued within a couple of weeks.
“We are committed to take it forward very, very fast,” he said, pointing out that the EoI would be the first such for Air India, while for Pawan Hans it would be a revised document. “So [if] any one of you is interested, I will be happy to host you,” he told the gathering at the inauguration of ‘Wings India 2018’, a four-day civil aviation and aerospace event that opened in Hyderabad.
His announcement came in the backdrop of the government paving the way for a stake sale in the debt-laden airline last year. The Union Cabinet had in-principle approved divestment in Air India and the government followed it up by permitting foreign airlines to invest up to 49%, under the approval route, subject to certain conditions. The Ministry is also in the process of moving amendments to the Act governing the Airports Authority of India (AAI) in the current session of the Parliament for better use of the entity’s land parcels.
The focus is to leverage and monetise AAI’s balance sheet and facilitate a manifold increase in its spend, from the existing Rs. 3,000 crore annually.
The AAI proposes to spend Rs. 18,000 crore over four years on upgrading of airports, he said, underscoring the significance of adequate resources so the growth of airports does not lag the growth of the aviation sector.
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