The government is optimistic about the proposed sale of Air India as it has received “interesting” queries for the national carrier from probable suitors, a senior government official said on Thursday.
Civil aviation secretary RN Choubey said several parties have raised important issues that signify their interest in Air India’s sale which was initiated last month. “The only thing I will say is that we have got interesting queries which show parties concerned have applied their mind and have raised very significant and important issues. We are going to reply to them and we are happy about the buzz the process has created,” Choubey told reporters.
However, he did not elaborate on the nature of queries, and whether suggestions have been made to change certain conditions for the sale.
AI transaction adviser EY had invited queries from probable bidders on the preliminary information memorandum from interested parties by April 16. The responses to the queries will be put on the civil aviation ministry’s website on April 30.
The government has offered to sell 76% of its stake in the loss-making carrier, along with 100% stake in low-cost subsidiary Air India Express and 50% in joint venture AISATS.
Airlines such as IndiGo and Jet Airways have already expressed inability to bid for the debt-laden carrier due to the proposed structure of the deal. Analysts too have urged the ministry to ease deadlines for bids due to the complex nature of the transaction.
The last date for submitting the EoI document is May 14, while qualified interested bidders will be announced on May 28.