Group of ministers approve Air India divestment plan

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 this month itself, he said. The last GoM meeting took place in September 2019.
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.
The  high-powered GoM and senior government officials, at a meeting today, also approved further transfer of Air India’s debt of around Rs60,000 crore to a special purpose vehicle (SPV). Till date Rs29,400 crore has been transferred to the SPV.
The meeting was attended by home minister Amit Shah, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, commerce minister Piyush Goyal and aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri as well as aviation secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola.
Aviation minister Puri had recently said the government was flexible on the timeline for the proposed stake sale and has not set a deadline.
The national carrier loses Rs26 crore every day, but has like a robust service network, with domestic and international destinations, including slots at foreign airports.
But with losses swelling to about Rs69,575.64 crore over the past decade, burdened by a large workforce as well as government obligations that requires it to fly to a number of loss-making routes, Air India’s net loss for fiscal 2018-19 is provisionally estimated at Rs8,556.35 crore.