Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has said that it will be difficult to run Air India without privatising it. "If we don't privatise Air India, where will we get the money to operate it? Right now, Air India is a first class asset and we will get bidders if we sell it. And if we take ideological positions, then it will be difficult to run it," stated the minister.
The government is aiming to start the complete sale of Air India as well as Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) by March, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had stated earlier this month. "We are moving on both with the expectation that we can complete them this year. The ground realities will play out," she had said. She also stated that there is a lot of interest among investors for Air India.
According to ministry sources, the Air India management and employee unions have sent a bunch of proposals to the ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) ahead of the stake sale process.
These proposals include medical facilities for the current and retired employees, the arrears of pilots, demand for a two-year lock-in period, and continuation of the scheme that offers complementary tickets to employees.
This is the government's second attempt to privatise the national carrier. In 2018, the government put up 26 per cent of Air India for sale but saw a weak response from investors.
Separately, according to recent reports, the airline is planning to offer job protection of a year to its 11,000 employees.