Ministerial group formed to look into AI divestment meets

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New Delhi, July 21 (IANS) A ministerial group formed to look into the modalities of national passenger carrier Air India’s divestment process met here on Friday.

The group — Air India-specific Alternative Mechanism — headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley met here for the first time after its formation.

The meeting comes after the June 28 decision of the Union cabinet which gave its in-principle approval for divestment of AI, whose debt has mounted to Rs 50,000 crore besides huge losses.

The Union cabinet’s decision on AI’s divestment was based on NITI Aayog’s recent report to the Civil Aviation Ministry recommending strategic disinvestment in the loss-making Air India.

The airline in 2015-16 had posted an operating profit of Rs 105 crore. For the last fiscal (2016-17), the company is expected to report an improved operating profit margin.

The flag carrier had got a new lease of life on April 12, 2012, when the previous central government under the UPA had approved a Rs 30,000 crore turnaround (TAP) and financial restructuring plans (FRP) package spanning up to the year 2021.

After the Union cabinet’s in-principle approval for Air India’s divestment, budget passenger airline IndiGo expressed its interest in participating in the stake sale of the flag-carrier.

–IANS

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