The Indian government said on Twitter that it has received several bids for its stake in state-run carrier Air India, for which the auction ended on Monday evening.
“Many expressions of interest have been received for the strategic disinvestment of Air India. The transaction will now move into the second phase, ”according to a tweet by the Secretary, Department of Investment and Public Asset Management.
Tata Sons, India’s steel-to-steel conglomerate, is expected to submit an initial bid for the loss-making airline, sources told Reuters about the matter.
A Tata spokesperson declined to comment.
The Business Standard newspaper reported on Monday that a group of more than 200 Air India employees submitted a preliminary bid for a career in partnership with a private financier.
In January, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government renewed its push to sell its entire interest in the loss-making airline, which has been put in place since 2012 by bailout.
About two years ago, the effort to auction a majority stake did not yield any bids, forcing the government to relax the conditions. It has also increased the deadline of this year due to Kovid-19 manifold and has relaxed the conditions to attract bidders.
The worldwide airline industry has suffered a slowdown in travel aimed at banning novel coronoviruses.
Tata already operates two airlines in India – full-service carrier Vistara, which is in partnership with Singapore Airlines and Malaysia’s AirAsia Group with budget airline AirAsia India.
A successful bidder would win Air India’s 4,400 domestic and 1,800 international landings and control of parking slots at domestic airports, as well as 900 slots at airports abroad.
The bid document shows that it will also get 100% of the low-cost Air India Express and 50% of AISATS, which provides cargo and ground handling services at major Indian airports.
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