Govt Serious About AI Privatisation, EoI Within Weeks
The Centre is in the middle of a serious divestment process and will soon come out with the expression of interest (EoI) documents for privatising national carrier Air India.
Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Tuesday that Air India's EoI is likely to be issued within weeks and the revised EoI for the chopper-operator is also expected soon.
The minister was speaking at a media interaction in the national capital.
According to Puri, the airline is a good asset, but privatisation is required to save it.
The minister said that Air India has accumulated unsustainable debt levels over the years. However, the asset quality has generated interest from private entities and established airlines.
He said the national carrier was making a loss of Rs 20-26 crore per day.
Currently, Union Home Minister Amit Shah heads the panel looking after the divestment process.
Other members of the panel include Puri, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Commerce and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal.
In the previous Modi government, then Finance Minister Arun Jaitley headed the ministerial panel called Air India Specific Alternative Mechanism (AISAM).
After failing to find a bidder in its previous term, the government is now working on a war-footing to sell Air India to a private player.
Air India has a total debt of about Rs 58,000 crore.
Regarding predatory pricing, the minister said the practice is a cause of concern and can lead to airlines' closures. Nevertheless, Puri said the trend of predatory pricing has come down.
In terms of airport privatisation, the minister said that it is a continuous process and that Airports Authority of India has proposed to privatise six airports.
Besides, he said that according to the Uttar Pradesh government, the bulk of land acquisition for Jewar Airport has been completed.
As for the safety issues regarding the PW engines which power the Airbus A320neo aircraft, the minister said that these engines will be changed by January 31, 2020.
On air fares, he said that these can not be regulated.