New Delhi: According to a senior official of aviation ministry the government might not move ahead with the plan of selling Air India if it does not get the right price for the airline. The government has called bids to sell 76 per cent stake in Air India.
R N Choubey, Aviation Secretary, told media persons, “The government retains the right to sell or not to sell Air India, if the bid price is found to be inadequate.”
As per the plans of the government the privatization process of Air India is to be closed by end of December 2018. Consultants have been hired to decide on enterprise value and asset valuers have been hired for airlines by the government. They have to give the government a floor price for the airline company and if bids are lower than the floor price then the government may decide not to go ahead with the bid.
Notably, the national carrier recorded 20 per cent growth in revenue in March-April 2018. Pradeep Singh Kharola told the media though the expenses continue to remain high, the revenue has increased by about 20 per cent as compared to the same period last year at roughly about Rs 3,000 crore. He also said that airlines is focusing on improving the operation efficiency both in the domestic and international sectors even as it is buoyed over the load factor, on time performance and revenue growth.
It should also be noted that Mohan Bhagwat, Sarsanghchalak, Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh also said in the month of April that the government should not allow foreigners to take control on the state-owned national carrier.
Bhagwat said, “If Air India has not been run properly, then give it to those who would be able to run it properly. He should be an Indian as you should not let your skies be controlled by someone else. Look at Germany or Russia — they don’t allow a majority shareholding in the company, they don’t allow more than 39-49%. Even if someone gets the majority stake, the countries have the power to confiscate the shares and sell them.”
RSS affiliated Swadeshi Jagran Manch is also not in favor of selling Air India and says that government must look for options to revive Air India.