The Central Government is not considering the stake sale of state-owned Air India airlines for now and has decided to provide necessary funds for regular operations of the debt-ridden national airline – keeping an eye on the upcoming elections.
After about three weeks of proposed 76% stake sale of the debt-ridden Air India airlines, which failed to attract any investors or bidders, the government has decided not to go ahead with the stake sale. To discuss the issue of Air India and find a feasible solution, a high-level meeting was conducted by Union Minister Arun Jaitley yesterday. The meeting was also attended by Piyush Goyal, who is temporary in-charge as Finance Minister, Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari and other senior officials of finance and civil aviation ministries.
Soon after the meeting, the Centre announced that it is not considering strategic stake sale of Air India for now. The Centre will also provide necessary funds to run the daily domestic operations of the state-owned air carriers and even order a couple of new aircrafts for proper functioning of Air India. As per government officials, the airline is actually making operational profits, no flights go empty; so they believe that with a cost efficient mechanism, the conditions of the airlines can be improved eventually. With that in mind, the Centre has decided to not rush into selling stakes of the airline and making it a venture that brings profits on overall basis before going in for listing.
So, as of now, it would not be wrong to say that Air India is off the table temporarily and, if what the government plans is to be believed into, it will soon become a profitable venture. Until then, the centre is planning to improve operational efficiency and boosting employee morale, starting from the top level, to better the functioning of the airline. Logically, one can understand that the government eyes on the elections that is looming on head for next year and the government has other serious stuff to take care of – like regaining Raisina.