DELHI: The flight path for Air India’s future may be drawn as early as next month. With finance minister Arun Jaitley saying the government is open to disinvesting in the airline, the aviation ministry will this week begin internal deliberations on the issue.
Apart from this, the Niti Aayog is also learnt to be in advance stages of finalising its recommendations for the debt-ridden Maharaja, reports The Times of India.
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“Internally within the ministry we will take a call on how to take the FM’s statement forward. Once the ministry makes up its mind on the issue of disinvesting in AI, we will take the matter to the Cabinet for approval. If the Cabinet gives its nod, then the department of disinvestment will implement the same,” said a top aviation ministry source.
The doubt in everyone’s mind is whether AI — with its debt burden of almost Rs 52,000 crore — will get a buyer. Sources said the government may informally find out if some serious player is willing to run the airline, then it will take the process forward. The FM has also said that this will happen only if there is a strategic buyer.
“We hugely respect FM’s opinion that instead of putting thousands of crores in AI, that money can be spent on social sector schemes. We will very soon decide whether we can move in the direction of divesting in AI as that is the fundamental question, along with will there be a buyer and how to attract one, given the issues with AI,” said the ministry source.