The Tata Group has informally sought details from the Centre on the planned sale of Air India, an unnamed government official said. “They have asked us how we want to do it, what we will do with the debt, and what will happen to the subsidiaries,” the official said, according to Hindustan Times.
Executives of the conglomerate are believed to have posed these questions in informal discussions “at different levels” of the government after the Cabinet approved Air India’s disinvestment on June 28. The official said that the Tata executives were told that only the Group of Minister studying the airline’s sale could answer their queries.
This group includes Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Power Minister Piyush Goyal.
A Tata Sons spokesperson refused to comment on the matter.
IndiGo’s interest in Air India
In June, private airline IndiGo had expressed interest in buying Air India’s international business. In a letter to the civil aviation minister, IndiGo President Aditya Ghosh had said that the airline’s profitability and strong domestic network made it an “ideal candidate” to acquire the business.
However, on July 6, IndiGo Co-Founder Rakesh Gangwal had ruled out entering a joint venture with the government over Air India, saying it would be a “very difficult proposition”. Gangwal had said that if a foreign airline bought Air India’s international assets, it would only help the economic interests of that entity grow.