Air-India, Indian Airlines IPOs by next fiscal

New Delhi: State-owned Air-India and Indian Airlines plan to float their initial public offerings by the first quarter of 2006. This was stated by civil aviation minister Praful Patel. However, he said not more than 20 per cent of the stake in either of the airline would be up for sale. He clarified that the extent of dilution would depend on the financial needs of the two carriers.

Speaking at the economic editors conference, Patel said that the public sector status of the airlines would be maintained. Referring to the consolidations taking place in the airlines industry globally as well as in India, Patel stressed on the need for public sector carriers to synergise their operations.

Patel said AI's fleet acquisition plan for 50 Boeing aircraft and another 18 for its subsidiary AI Express would get the final nod of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs by mid December. He added that IA's plan for purchase of 43 Airbus aircraft had already been cleared, and the first of the A-319s would arrive this month-end followed by two each in December, January and February.