Air India, the country's flag carrier, will bring out an initial public offer (IPO) and list it on the bourses, civil aviation minister Praful Patel said on Monday.
The IPO would, however, not affect the public sector character of the airline and it will not be privatised, he said.
"Air India will not lose its government character. We will keep control," He he said, adding, "It's not privatisation nor will it be disinvestment."
The proceeds of the IPO would be used for business activities, including fleet expansion and merger of domestic carrier Indian Airlines with itself, Patel said. He, however, did not give any time frame for the merger or the IPO issue.
He said the National Aviation Co of India Ltd will consider the public offer of its shares only when stock market conditions improve.
"If stock markets do better, then the IPO of Air India can be considered," Patel said.
The National Aviation Company, the entity that runs Air India, has been incurring huge losses in the wake of the current downturn and falling demand from passengers.
The company has been planning a huge expansion of its fleet since the past two years, involving induction of as many as 111 new aircraft till 2012 from both the US-based Boeing Aircraft Company and Airbus Industrie.
Patel, as minister of state, has independent charge of the ministry of civil aviation.