Finance ministry and civil aviation ministry are drawing a road map to divest either a significant part or whole of Air India, according to highly placed sources.
One of the sources said four companies, including two Indian conglomerates and two international airlines are being seen as the potential bidders of Air India.
Another source said the government is keen to have a clear plan for privatization of Air India by September so that there is a window of six months to carry out the necessary processes before the end of the financial year. “This decision was taken at the top level in the government. If all goes as per plan, by next financial year, Air India will be owned by a private player,” said the second source.
In an interview with CNBC TV18’s Shereen Bhan on Monday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, “In addition to the existing players (in aviation), if private players also participate in Air India’s proposed privatization, I think it will add to the competition in terms of quality and the speed of growth of the sector too.”
In his interview, Jaitley sounded bullish about aviation sector in India. “Aviation is turning into a good business in our country. Our airports are better than most countries, we have better connectivity. I do see a great future for the aviation sector. We have around 500-600 aircraft. China has 5000. We will definitely have a big number of aircraft flying in 10 years,” he said.