The government may not sell Air India if its bidding price is found to be inadequate, Civil Aviation Secretary RN Choubey said on Tuesday, The Economic Times reported.
Choubey said that Air India could get input tax credit if aviation turbine fuel was brought under the scope of the Goods and Services Tax, ANI reported. “It will also benefit the customers since there will be no increase in airfares,” he added.
On May 1, the Centre had extended the deadline for submission of bids for the sale of its stake in Air India from May 14 to May 31. The shortlisted bidders will be intimated by June 15.
Private airline Indigo has already pulled out of the race to buy the debt-ridden national carrier. In April, Jet Airways had also decided not to bid for the airline. However, its Chairperson Naresh Goyal has now said that the company has not ruled out buying Air India, Bloomberg reported on Monday.
“We are looking at our own business,” Goyal said. “But I am not saying that we will not look at Air India, I’ve never said that. Ultimately we will always see what is the best approach ahead of us, and for the country.”
Air India has not been earning profit since it was merged with the state-owned domestic operator Indian Airlines in 2007. The company made an operating profit of Rs 298 crore in the last financial year through March 2017 but still posted a net loss of Rs 5,765.16 crore.
In January, the government decided to divest its stake in Air India, ignoring a parliamentary panel’s recommendation to give the debt-ridden airline five years to revive itself.