By Gavin Gibbon
Report suggests Etihad and IndiGo have met with government officials to express an interest in troubled airline
Etihad Airways has refused to comment on speculation linking the Abu Dhabi-based carrier with an interest in troubled Air India.
According to a report in The Economic Times, Etihad and IndiGo, India’s largest airline by market share, have both met with government officials to express an interest in Air India.
The newspaper quotes an unnamed senior government official.
However, an Etihad Airways spokesperson told Arabian Business: “Etihad does not comment on rumour or speculation.”
The Indian government intends to privatise Air India, along with its subsidiary airline Air India Express and other core units, by selling off its 100 percent equity stake in the company.
The top brass of India’s department of investment and public asset management (DIPAM), civil aviation ministry and Air India have previously held road shows in Singapore and other overseas centres in their bid to gauge the interest of international investors as also to take their feedback before sending out Expression of Interests (EoIs) for Air India.
Global management consultancy EY is advising the Indian government on the Air India divestment transaction.
Foreign investors, including foreign airlines and airport operators, can hold only up to 49 percent equity in Air India under the foreign direct investment (FDI) rules for the aviation sector.
According to official sources, the government will invite EoIs for Air India disinvestment soon after completion of road shows, and plans to invite bids by early next year. The process is to be completed by next March end.
Air India has the largest share of international flying rights and seat capacities among Indian carriers.