Govt kicks off process to sell 76% stake in Air India

Air India

Days after Air India's new route connecting New Delhi and Tel Aviv via Saudi airspace was hailed as a historic breakthrough in geo-political relations, Israel's national airline El Al reportedly is seeking cancellation of the Air India's new route. Management or employees can participate directly in the bidding process or by way of forming a consortium, the memorandum said.

Media reports from India suggest a new owner will get the company 's aircraft and about $US5 billion in debt to take part in India's highest-profile asset sale for decades.

The relevance of 24 per cent of the share is that it doesn't give the government right to veto decisions, said Bhargava.

It will also sell its entire stake in the national carrier's budget arm - Air India Express, as well as a 50 per cent stake in its ground-handling unit - SATS Airport Services - according to bid documents released by the ministry of civil aviation.

During the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the new Air India route as "historic".

India's leading airline IndiGo stressed on Thursday that it was keen to.

The latter is an equal joint venture between the national carrier and Singapore-based SATS Ltd. The existing debt and liabilities of Air India and Air India Express as on March 31, 2017 would be re-allocated.

Air India was founded in the 1930s and is known to generations of Indians for its Maharajah mascot. Though EY highlights the fact that, "37.6% of the permanent employees or almost 4,200 permanent employees will retire in the next five years", the sheer scale of integrating such a large workforce under new management is unlikely to go amiss by any potential buyer.

El Al is asking that the Air India flights be halted until Israeli airlines are also allowed to fly over Saudi Arabia. The latest offer will include Rs 333 billion ($5.1 billion) of debt that the buyer will have to take over with the balance going to the government.

The Indian Government has issued a call for Expressions of Interest (EOI) in a 76% stake in Air India Limited as well as two other assets.

Selling a majority stake in the loss-making, 85-year-old company isn't going to be a cakewalk.

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