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Air India Privatisation : Group of Ministers Approve Share Purchase Agreement

Image : Representational Purpose Only
Image : Representational Purpose Only

A Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah has approved the Expression of Interest (EoI) as well as the share purchase agreement for Air India’s privatisation, a senior government official said.

The EoI and the share purchase agreement would be issued in January itself for the bidders, he said. The last GoM meeting took place in September 2019.

Air India chief Ashwani Lohani had said “rumours” of the disinvestment-bound airline’s shutdown are “all baseless”, weeks after he told the Civil Aviation Ministry that the carrier’s financial situation was “grossly untenable” for sustaining operations.

“Rumours regarding Air India shutting down or closing operations are all baseless. Air India would continue to fly and also expand and there should be no cause for concern whatsoever to travellers, corporates or agents. Air India the national carrier is still the biggest airline of India,” the Air India Chairman and Managing Director had tweeted.

Last year, the Air India Specific Alternative Mechanism (AISAM) approved the re-initiation of the process for the government’s 100 per cent stake sale in Air India along with Air India Express and the carrier’s stake in joint venture AISATS.

While Air India’s net loss in 2018-19 was around Rs 8,556 crore, its current total debt is around Rs 80,000 crore. A Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) as well as a debt restructuring plan for the airline was also approved by the AISAM, the official said, refusing to divulge any details about the same.

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