Government to ensure Air India's control stays with Indian entity

The process will be completed by the end of 2018 Bloomberg reported quoting junior aviation minister Jayant Sinha

The process will be completed by the end of 2018 Bloomberg reported quoting junior aviation minister Jayant Sinha

While the employee unions are expressed opposition for the disinvestment plan, the government allowed the overseas entities to own up to 49 percent stake under the approval route in Air India subject to certain conditions on January 10.

The move is aimed at addressing concerns over day-today management of some of the private carriers with foreign airlines as partners where shareholders were not really with the Indian owners despite the government rules mandating so.

Civil Aviation Minister had said permitting 49 per cent foreign direct investment in Air India brings the airline at par with other domestic carriers and does away with the preferential treatment that was extended to the national carrier. It had been reported earlier that the government is seeking to provide the airline employees options of joining public sector companies. Of the total debt, '17,360 crore was aircraft loans and Rs 31,517 crore was working capital loans.

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The possibility of giving them a voluntary retirement package is also under consideration, according to the sources close to the development.

In addition, New Delhi will pass Air India's "unsustainable debt" of over Rs5 trillion ($7.6 billion) "through two filters".

"We expect it to be a very bright future for its employees", he added.

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"As a matter of fact, Air India has expanded its global routes and Indians overseas have greatly appreciated the expansion", he wrote in the letter.

Ahead of the proposed strategic stake sale, group ministries are mulling over the modal quality during the bidding. Along with its subsidiaries it has almost 29,000 employees.

Last year, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, referring to Air India's taxpayer funded bailout, had said that the money pumped into the carrier could have been used for other things, like boosting India's education sector.

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