The Union government will not reconsider the decision to divest its stake in the debt-ridden Air India, Parliament was informed on Thursday.According to Minister of State of Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has given in-principle approval for considering strategic disinvestment of Air India and its five subsidiaries.Sinha told the Lok Sabha in a written reply that Inter Globe Aviation Limited has shown interest in acquiring airline operations of Air India and Air India Express. Subsequent to the CCEA's decision, an Air India-specific Alternative Mechanism -- headed by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley -- was formed. It has been mandated to guide the strategic divestment process and to decide on key issues such as treatment of the airline's debt and hiving-off of its assets.The demerger and strategic divestment of its three profit-making subsidiaries, the quantum of disinvestment and the universe of bidders is also on the group's agenda.
Recently, the government appointed consultancy firm EY as the transaction advisor for the strategic divestment.Till now, budget passenger carrier IndiGo has evinced interest in buying the airline's international operations and its subsidiary Air India Express. n addition, aviation industry majors SATS, Bird Group and Celebi have shown interest in buying Air India's ground handling unit.Currently, the airline, which is under massive debt burden of Rs 50,000 crore, had posted an operating profit of Rs 105 crore in 2015-16.For the last fiscal (2016-17), the company was expected to report an improved operating profit margin.The national flag carrier in April 12, 2012, got a new lease of life when the then UPA government had approved a Rs 30,000-crore turnaround and financial restructuring package spanning up to 2021.