Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha on Friday said the divestment process for national air carrier Air India has begun and that bidder will be finalised in 6-8 months. So far, Tata Group and IndiGo have expressed their interest in the bidding process, said Sinha. Air India's domestic and international operations will be sold together, he said. On the disinvestment process, he said the government is still in the process of identifying which subsidiaries of Air India should be offered separately. "Even if they are offered separately, if you want to bid for each one of them and re-integrate them, we are providing flexibility," the minister said. Air India has a debt burden of more than Rs 50,000 crore. While IndiGo has submitted a formal request to take over Air India’s airline operations, Tata Group Chairman Natarajan Chandrasekaran has also joined the queue of interested bidders for the stake sale, said a Bloomberg tweet on Friday.The mammoth deal includes an operating fleet of 142 aircraft comprising sixty-five A-320 aircraft, fifteen B777 aircraft, twenty-four 787 aircraft, twenty-three 737-800 aircraft and eleven ATRs and four B747 aircraft. Apart from the main company, five Air India subsidiaries and a joint venture firm have been included in the strategic sale plan.
These are its low cost airline Air India Express Limited; ground handling arm Air India Air Transport Service Limited; maintenance, repair and overhaul subsidiary Air India Engineering Services, regional connectivity operator Airline Allied Service, Hotel Corporation of India and Air India’s 50:50 joint venture with Singapore Air Transport Services (SATS) for ground handling activities.