Notwithstanding the opposition being raised by the employees of Air India, the government appears to keen on moving ahead with the disinvestment in the national carrier. The first signs came when the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman made it clear in her budget speech in Parliament that the government has intentions of selling off the airline. The huge target of over Rs 1 lakh crore that the FM set for disinvestment cannot be achieved if it does not include Air India.
It is now being reported by the Economic times that the government wants to find a suitable buyer as soon as possible and will rollout roadshows to highlight the virtues of taking over the airline. The government has expressed its willingness to even meet with the interested buyers, if required, even if they have not joined in the expression of interest race. The prospective bidders may be allowed to inspect portions of the airlineās accounts apart from the proposed agreement for purchase of the shares.
These details have been reported out of information provided by sources and not exactly confirmed by either Air India officially or any government sources.
According to these sources, the government may allow the bidders to offer their suggestions for changes in the terms of the agreement.
It may be recalled that the government made one attempt at trying to partially disinvest in Air India but did not succeed. It is then that the government reviewed the decision.
The airline could have capitalized on the problems faced by Jet Airways and its ultimate closure. Air India, being the oldest operator in the industry in the country and a strong presence in the international segment as well should have grabbed the business left blank by Jet, but failed. Taking on Indigo and SpiceJet in the domestic segment has also not been feasible on the fare war.
Any bidder will have to consider the amount of debts and losses the national carrier is carrying on its books before going ahead and signing on the dotted line.