Sunil Mittal backs Tatas' likely buyout of Air India

BT Online        Last Updated: June 23, 2017  | 13:32 IST
Sunil Mittal backs Tatas likely buyout of Air India

Since the news of the Tata Group evincing interest in buying stake in government airline Air India came, the media has been flooded with various reports examining the Tatas' move and its likely plan to revive the ailing carrier.  

On Thursday, Tatas likely acquisition of the carrier received a thumping response from none other than Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal.

If Air India is to be privatised, then Tatas will be one of the better candidates to buy stake in the airline, the business leader told media.

Amid the government exploring ways to revive the debt-laden airline, Tata group is believed to be interested in purchasing stake in the national carrier.

"Tatas, if it (Air India) has to be privatised, should be one of the better candidates," Mittal said in New Delhi.

Also read: Air India, Jet Airways to fly extra in Kerala-Qatar route during Eid

His response came when reporters sought his views on reports that Air India might be sold off and that Tatas are interested in buying stake in the airline.

There are various proposals, including complete privatisation, are on the table to reverse the fortunes of Air India but there is no finality yet.

A senior Civil Aviation Ministry official said the Cabinet would first decide on the future course of action for Air India.

Only then, it would be clear whether there would be disinvestment or some other route would be looked at for reviving the airline, the official added.

On Wednesday, sources said Tata group was evaluating options on buying stake in the airline. Air India traces its roots to Tata Airlines, which was formed way back in 1932.

Set up by Tatas, the carrier was made a public company and was rechristened as Air India. Later, it was nationalised.

Niti Aayog vice chairman Arvind Panagariya said Air India should be privatised as its debt level is "simply not sustainable" and government action on the airline's future course is likely within six months. The airline is staying afloat on Rs 30,000 crore bailout package extended by the previous UPA government.

With PTI inputs

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