Union Minister for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri said on wednesday that he is hopeful that concrete offers will come for Air India's sale as terms for the bid are being revised in a big way.
"Last time the government was holding 26 per cent stakes in Air India but now things have changed...and it seems that buyers will come forward to make offer for AI, the flag carrier airline of India," said Puri.
In an exclusive interview to IANS, Puri said that operating costs cannot be met with existing structure and its high time to sell Air India which at present has one of the most modern fleet in the industry.
"If situation prolongs, a time will come when Finance Ministry will not support us financially. Then we have only one option left... to approach the banks to keep Air India flying," said Puri who also holds the important portfolio of Urban Development.
When asked that earlier the government had invited bid for Air India but the response was not encouraging, the minister said that government has now revised the terms which at present seems quite lucrative. The minister said he is hopeful that offers would come and the deal would materialise.
On being asked about state funding for Air India, Puri said that governments has its own limits.
"For public sector, for instance steel sector, the government has a revenue base limit. It cannot go beyond a certain point to bail out PSUs financially. Even banks have their own view on this issue. So if you are incurring operating losses over a period of time, then people will say...'isko privatise karo' (privatise Air India)," Puri said.
On the new bid offers, he said the process is on and very soon the bid will be invited.
"Last time we were not privatising it (Air India) 100 per cent. We were holding 26 per cent with the government. But now the terms for bid are being changed," Puri said.