Following Indigo, Jet Airways has planned to drop out of the race to acquire national-carrier Air India. It has been reported in Business Standard that the company’s management which was in discussion with its alliance partners Air France-KLM, Delta has now decided not to participate in the bidding process.
“We welcome the government move to privatise Air India. It is a bold step. However, considering the terms of offer in the information memorandum and based on our review, we are not participating in the process,” Jet Airways Deputy Chief Executive Officer Amit Agarwal told the newspaper.
Earlier, IndiGo decided not to participate in the stake sale of debt-stricken Air India. While Indigo was interested in buying only its international operations and Air Express, the government wants to sell the entire company as one package.Air Express is the low-cost arm of the government carrier.
IndiGo president Aditya Ghosh, in a statement, said, “From day one, IndiGo has expressed its interest primarily in the acquisition of Air India’s international operations and Air India Express. However, that option is not available under the government’s current divestiture plans for Air India”.
“Also, as we have communicated before, we do not believe that we have the capability to take on the task of acquiring and successfully turning around all of AI’s airline operations,” he added.
With many players backing out from the bidding process, the disinvestment process of Air India has met with the rough start.
According to the memorandum, the government plans to offload 76 per cent equity share capital of the Air India as well as transfer the management control. The proposed deal will include Air India, Air India Express and Air India SATS Airport Services Pvt Ltd.
Currently, Air India has a market share of around 14 per cent and has a debt burden of around Rs 50,000 crore.