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No bids for Air India so far, govt will not extend May 31 deadline

By Deepika

No bids have been received so far for stake in Air India, the government said on Wednesday even as it hoped of getting a good response on the last day of the formal bidding process on Thursday.

Image for representation only

"We expect good response before bid closes on Thursday," civil aviation secretary RN Choubey told PTI responding to a query.

The government will not extend the deadline for submissions of interest in Air India, he said.

The government could decide against selling its stake in the airline, he said, if the bids do not match its expectations. "The government has the right to sell or not to sell Air India if the bid price is found to be inadequate," Choubey had told reporters.

"Though the transaction advisor (EY) will assess the enterprise value, the right price for the airline will be decided by us," he said. Asked about AI employees' union protests against the proposed sale, he said they were conscious of the fact that airlines would do well after privatisation.

The deadline for the expression of interest ends tomorrow and the request for proposal could be issued only after June 15.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, keen to sell the loss-making, debt-ridden airline, finalised plans in late March to divest a 76 percent stake and offload about $5.1 billion of its debt.

Major airlines such as IndiGo, Jet Airways, Emirates and Qatar have decided against entering the race, according to reports.

The ailing airline's total debt stood at Rs 48,781 crore at the end of March 2017.

OneIndia News (with PTI inputs)

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