Govt won't sell Air India for a lower price: aviation secretary

The government will not sell the national carrier Air India if it does not fetch an "adequate" price, civil aviation secretary R N Choubey said on Tuesday, even as he expressed confidence that ailing airline would fetch a good price.

"The government has the right to sale or not to sale Air India if the bid price is found to be inadequate," Choubey told reporters.
The civil aviation ministry has set a deadline for submission of expression of interest (EoI) as 31 May, and the request for proposal could be issued as early as 15 June, the aviation secretary said.
He expects the bid details to be known by the end of August , but said the highest bidder may not be the successful bidder, adding that the government intends to complete the disinvestment process by this year end.
"Though the transaction advisor (Ernst & Young) will assess the enterprise value, the right price for the airline will be decided by us," he said.
He dismissed questions about the concerns raised by Air India employees union, saying that the employees are conscious of the fact that airlines the world over have done well after privatisation.
Choubey, however, said the government has made it clear that it would have the rights of a "minority shareholder" with 24 per cent stake in Air India post disinvestment.
The government had on 28 March kicked off the disinvestment process of the debt-laden national with a proposal to sell up to 76 per cent stake in it along with management control.