The government has extended the deadline for Air India's divestment by two more months owing to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The last day to submit the expression of interest (EoI) and intimating qualified bidders has been extended to August 31 from June 30 earlier and September 14 from July 14, respectively, Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) said on Saturday. It's for the third time that the divestment process of the national carrier has been extended after it began in January.
"The above changes are as per the requests received from the IBsin view of the prevailing situation arising out of COVID-19.Further changes with respect to the Important Dates, if any, will be communicated to the Interested Bidders subsequently," it added.
The earlier deadline for submission of expression of interest was March 17. It was later extended to April 30, and then to June 30.
Government earlier this year announced its plans to sell its entire stake in Air India, in a revised push to sell its national carrier after an initial attempt to sell a majority stake in the airline failed to draw a single bid in 2018.
In 2018, India had tried to sell a 76% stake in Air India and offload about $5.1 billion of its debt, terms that potential buyers at the time viewed as too onerous.
Air India, known for its Maharaja mascot, has some of India's most lucrative international and domestic landing and parking slots that are key for airlines.