“Air India will have to close down if it is not privatised,” the Civil Aviation Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri said. “Right now, Air India is a first class asset and we will get bidders if we sell it. And if we take ideological positions then it will be difficult to run it,” he said. Puri however said that a favourable deal would be ensured for all the employees, while replying to a question in the Upper House of the parliament.
As per reports, Air India management and the employee unions have sent several proposals to the ministry ahead of the stake sale process. These proposals primarily include medical benefits to the current and retired employees, arrears of pilots, and others. The government has set March 31st as the deadline for completing the disinvestment process and is readying the bid document for selling off its entire stake in the national carrier. Top aviation ministry officials and Air India Chief Ashwani Lohani are currently meeting potential investors before launching the bid process.
Air India has stayed afloat on government support. The UPA-II government had cleared a financial package of over Rs 30,000 crore to ensure the public sector carrier survived.