As the Indian government plans to sell 76 per cent stakes in Air India to private parties, there is a high probability that Singapore Airlines can also make the bid for Indian national carrier.
Chief Executive Officer of Singapore Airlines Goh Choon Phong said the carrier was open to acquiring a stake in Air India but had not formally expressed interest, reported Todayonline.
“We have to see what are the details and we decide from there,” Goh told reporters in Singapore during the unveiling of the cabin products as the new Boeing 787-10 arrived in Singapore yesterday.
Meanwhile, Indian government planned to sell the stakes in Air India with the condition that the brand ‘Air India’ will be retained and the control of the national-carrier will be with Indian nationals.
In 2017, Indian government gave in-principle approval for strategic disinvestment of the debt-laden national carrier to private players.
The preliminary information memorandum on eligibility criteria for bidders has also been released by the Indian government.
For making the disinvestment of Air India, the Indian government has proposed the following
- The brand ‘Air India’ to be retained for a few years
- New bidders need to ensure that only Indian nationals will have the control of Air India
- Only companies with the minimum net worth of Rs 5,000 crore can bid for Air India
- The lead member shall hold at least 51% of paid-up capital
- Management or employees can participate directly in the bidding process or by way of forming a consortium, as per the memorandum
- The Air India disinvestment transaction will involve Air India, its low-cost arm Air India Express and Air India SATS Airport Services Pvt Ltd. The latter is an equal joint venture between the national carrier and Singapore-based SATS Ltd
Currently, Singapore Airlines operates about 98 flights a week to India and plans to increase that to 104 by the middle of the year. Its low-cost airline, Scoot, operates 46 flights to India.