IndiGo has pulled out of the race to acquire debt-stricken Air India, as the budget carrier was interested in  buying the international operations and Air Express and not the entire company as one package.

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”. Air Express is the low-cost arm of the government carrier

“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.

The civil aviation ministry has recently invited Expression of Interest from bidders for Air India, which has a debt of around Rs 50,000 crore . IndiGo was the only airline that had officially expressed an interest to buy the state-owned carrier which is facing the brunt of government’s disinvestment plans. It was earlier communicated that different units of Air India will be hived off and sold separately. But in the latest memorandum the government has expresssed it will be sold as one unit.

According to reports, a consortium of Jet Airways , Air France-KLM and US-based Delta Airlines have shown their interest. Earlier, Doha-based Qatar Airways along with IndiGo also showed their interest to make a joint bid for the airline.

Indigo is a profit-making airline. During the third quarter in financial year 2018, it reported a net profit of Rs 762 crore compared with Rs 487.20 crore in the corresponding period of the previous year. Revenue also jumped in the third quarter to Rs 6,177.88 crore from Rs 4,986.49 crore in the third quarter of financial year 2017.

With inputs from ANI