Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha on Friday said the divestment process of state-owned air carrier Air India was very much on track in terms of the timeline.The Ministry is keen to transfer the airline to the private sector by the end of this calendar year, he said."Our timelines are very clear. Our goal is to award it by the end of June and to have the whole transaction closed and done of the transfer of airline to the private sector by end of this calendar year," Sinha told the media on the sidelines of WINGS India 2018 at Begumpet Airport here.He attributed the delays in the expression of interest (EoI) processes to several important issues that the Ministry had to sort out besides obtaining approval from the Alternative Mechanism, chaired by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.On Thursday, Civil Aviation Secretary R.N. Choubey said there would be clarity in two weeks on the expression of interest.
Sinha, however, refused to divulge the details of the percentage of stake sale or the quantum of money to be raised through the divestment. He also chose not to comment on the interest shown by some foreign airlines to participate in the bidding.On the safety concerns over the new engines of Pratt & Whitney in the A320 aircraft, Sinha said the Ministry was working closely with safety regulators around the world to decide on the best course of action for the engine.Sinha was all praise for his senior minister P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju who quit the government on Thursday."We will very much miss the honourable minister. He was a tremendous source of inspiration, guidance and leadership for us. And we in the Ministry of Civil Aviation have benefited greatly from his leadership," he said.