Thursday, 19 April, 2018

Govt approves disinvestment of Air India

The Union cabinet on Wednesday gave its in-principle approval for the disinvestment of Air India The Union cabinet on Wednesday gave its in-principle approval for the disinvestment of Air India
Preston Stone | 29 June, 2017, 09:08

"Cabinet has given in-principle nod for the disinvestment of Air India", India's Finance Minister Arun Jaitely said.

On June 5, 2017 Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the government should have exited the airline more than a decade ago.

A Civil Aviation Ministry note for stake sale in Air India was considered by the Cabinet today.

Earlier, Niti Aayog headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi submitted a report recommending a stake sale in the airline.

Air India's share in the domestic aviation market is a mere 14 per cent with Indigo and Jet Airways enjoying the lion's share. This was the clearest indication yet from the current NDA regime on possible stake sale in Air India, which was staying afloat on taxpayers money.

Experts say India's aviation sector holds vast untapped potential, with just 100 million of its 1.2 billion people taking to the skies previous year.

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Air India Express, which started operations in 2005, has 545 weekly departures and flew 3.4 million passengers in 2016 -17.

The government had ordered the loss-making airline to turn around its fortunes, prompting the carrier to slash employee overtime and other expenses.

Jitender Bhargava, a former Air India executive director who was written a book about its decline, urged the government to part ways entirely with the airline. Under the TAP-FRP approved in April 2012, the government had committed to infuse equity of Rs 42,182 crore from 2011-12 to 2031-32.

"We request you to waive Rs 30,000 crore and give an opportunity to Air India management to keep flying the flag of the national carrier", according to a letter the Air India Employees' Union submitted to Panagriya.

Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha had last week said that inter-ministerial consultations on the future course of action for Air India had been completed and the Cabinet would decide on how to move forward.

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