New Delhi, May 31: The central government’s plan to divest a majority stake in the national passenger carrier Air India seems to have run into trouble, as no bids were received for the cash-strapped airline. According to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, “no response” was received till 5 p.m. on Thursday which was the extended submission deadline for the ‘Expression of Interest’ (EoI) bids under Air India’s divestment process. Also Read - US Determined To Help India In 'Hour Of Need' Amid COVID-19 Surge, Says Kamala Harris
“As informed by the Transaction Adviser, no response has been received for the Expression of Interest floated for the strategic disinvestment of Air India,” the ministry said in a tweet. “Further course of action will be decided appropriately.” Also Read - IPL 2021: When and Where IPL 2021 Can Be Rescheduled?
On May 1, the government had extended the last date for EoI bid submission to May 31, 2018 from May 14. Choubey on Wednesday said that the government has not received any bids so far for its stake in debt-laden Air India but expects bids to turn up in the last hour. He also said earlier that the government will not extend the deadline for submissions of interest in Air India. The deadline for receiving bids has already been extended once to May 31 from May 14.
The disinvestment process of the debt-laden national carrier kicked off on March 28 kicked off to sell up to 76 per cent stake in the company along with management control.
Earlier, IndiGo and Jet Airways pulled out of the race to acquire debt-stricken Air India. Indigo was not interested in buying the whole company but just its international operations and Air Express, which is the low-cost arm of the government carrier,
IndiGo’s former president Aditya Ghosh, in a statement, earlier 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 agency inputs)