Govt plans to sell Air India's iconic Mumbai building to raise funds
28 June 2018
Government is planning to sell some of Air India's prime properties, including the iconic 23-storey building at Nariman Point, in Mumbai, which was also once the airline's headquarters, as it looks to raise funds for reviving the debt-laden national carrier.
The proposal has received in-principle approval from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and an inter-ministerial panel has been constituted to work out the modalities
Reports say the government has started discussions with state-owned Jawaharlal Nehru port Trust, the country’s biggest container port, for sale of the skyscraper, as part of efforts to raise funds for the cash-strapped national carrier.
The 23-storey building at Nariman Point, in Mumbai, which was also once the airline's headquarters, is a prime property and is likely to fetch high valuations.
Air India and JNPT come under the civil aviation and shipping ministries respectively. The idea is to keep the present name of the building, even after a sale to JNPT, as the building is widely known as 'Air India building'.
The details are still being worked out and most Air India officials are unaware of the proposal. However, a section within the airline is vehemently opposed to any such move.
They say the building, which houses many other offices, is a "cash cow" for the debt-laden airline.
The government has been pursuing the asset monetisation plan of Air India for long and few properties have been sold so far.
In March this year, the civil aviation ministry had informed the Lok Sabha that the airline had mopped up Rs 543.03 crore till then from monetisation of its assets in prime locations such as Mumbai and Chennai. The monetisation included the sale of six flats at the posh Sterling apartments in Mumbai's upmarket Peddar Road to the State Bank of India, with each of these flats fetching Rs22 crore, the ministry had said.
The ministry had also said the carrier collected Rs291 crore as lease rental from the Air India building at Nariman Point, Mumbai between 2012-13 and January 2018. Air India's debt burden is estimated to be more than Rs50,000 crore.