New Delhi, Jan 15: Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha on Monday said that the debt-ridden national carrier Air India will be split into four separate companies and offer to sell at least 51 percent in each of them as part of a disinvestment plan proposed by the government. Also Read - Hyderabad Airport Now Offers e-Boarding For IndiGo, Air India International Flights

The debt-laden national carrier would be divided into core airline business, regional arm, ground handling and engineering operations, a report by Bloomberg said. The core airline business comprising Air India and Air India Express, the low-cost overseas arm, will be offered as one company in the same process, which will be completed by the end of 2018, Bloomberg further reported, quoting  Sinha.  Bidders will be allowed to bid for one or more companies. Also Read - Hong Kong Again Bars Air India Flights Over Covid Cases

Earlier last week the government had cleared a proposal to allow foreign investors to own up to 49 per cent in the carrier. The government had also cleared that the national carrier’s substantial ownership would remain with Indian nationals. Also Read - Vande Bharat Mission Phase 7: Air India Announces Flights to These Countries | Check Full Schedule Here

Surviving on taxpayers’ money, Air India is estimated to have a debt burden of more than Rs 50,000 crore. Various efforts were made to improve the financial performance of the airline, including by way of sale of non-core assets.