Aviation services provider Bird Group has expressed interest in acquiring Air India’s ground handling services, a company spokesperson told the Business Standard on Wednesday. “We told the government that if it decides to sell the subsidiary separately to unlock maximum value, we will bid for the ground handling unit,” the official said.
Civil Aviation Secretary Rajiv Nayan Choubey told reporters earlier in the day that the Bird Group, which handles ground activities at seven airports, had sent the government an Expression of Interest letter to acquire the airline’s subsidiary, the Air India Air Transport Services Ltd, The Times of India reported.
Ground activities include services such as navigation of aircraft, logistics and customer management.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who heads the Group of Ministers that is overseeing Air India’s divestment, said they will make speedy decisions on the liquidation process. “These decisions are to be taken expeditiously but in their normal course,” Jaitley told reporters on Wednesday.
In June, private airline IndiGo had expressed interest in buying Air India’s international business, soon after the Centre had approved the privatisation of the national carrier and its five subsidiaries on June 28. The Tata Group, too, is believed to be interested in the buyout.
At the end of 2016-17, Air India’s debts amounted to Rs 48,876 crore. The Jaitley-led panel will decide whether to go for a 100% stake sale at one go or divest Air India’s assets gradually.