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Final bids for Air India disinvestment today, Tata, SpiceJet in race

Air India is laden with a huge debt of around ₹ 43,000 crores of which ₹ 22,000 crores will also be transferred to the Air India Asset Holding Limited

Final bids for Air India disinvestment today, Tata, SpiceJet in race
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File photo of Air India flights

New Delhi

The government has initiated the process of financial bidsfor the debt-laden national carrier Air India (AI) on Wednesday as AviationMinister Jyotiraditya Scindia made it clear that September 15 date for theprocess is fixed and will not change.

After failing to find any buyer for a 76 per cent stake in Air India in 2018,the government is expected to complete the sale of the national carrier with atleast two buyers expected to submit financial bids by September 15.

"The Tata Group, through its holding company and SpiceJet chairman AjaySingh, is likely to make its financial bid for the airline in his personalcapacity," an industry source said. "We are very optimistic that thistime Air India will get a new bidder," a government source said on thecondition of anonymity.

Air India is laden with a huge debt of around ₹ 43,000 crores ofwhich ₹ 22,000 crores will also be transferred to the Air India AssetHolding Limited (AIAHL).

"The debt of the airline has now increased to ₹ 43,000 crore andall these loans are under government guarantee. And the government will bearthis debt before the airline is transferred to the new owners," sourcessaid. The government declined to share any details on expectations from the saleof Air India.

The Centre is planning to sell a 100 per cent stake in the airline and itslow-cost subsidiary Air India Express. And a 50 per cent stake in groundhandling company Air India SATS Airport Services Private Limited (AISATS).Other properties including the Air India building in Mumbai, Airlines House inDelhi will also be part of the deal.

Four acres of land at Connaught Place in Delhi and various housing societies inDelhi, Mumbai and other cities for AI employees and others usage. Air India'ssubsidiaries such as Air India Engineering Services Limited (AIESL) and AirIndia Air Transport Services Limited (AITSL) will also be part of AIAHL.

At present, Air India has control over 4,400 domestic and 1,800 internationallanding and parking slots at domestic airports as well as 900 slots abroad.

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