Civil Aviation Secretary RN Choubey on Wednesday said the Centre has not received any bids from private players for its stake in state-run carrier Air India, according to The Indian Express. With just a day left for the bidding process to close, he said that the government will not extend the May 31 deadline for submission of Expressions of Interest in Air India.
On May 1, the Centre had extended the deadline for submission of bids from May 14 to May 31. The shortlisted bidders, if there are any, will be intimated by June 15.
In January, the government planned to divest 76% stake in Air India, ignoring a parliamentary panel’s recommendation to give the debt-ridden airline five years to revive itself. Air India has not earned profits 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.
Private airline IndiGo pulled out of the race to buy the debt-ridden national carrier while Jet Airways decided not to bid. The Tata Group, which was considered a potential buyer, is unlikely to bid for the stake since the government’s terms were onerous, reported Reuters.