With no takers for debt-ridden airline, Modi govt mulling sale of Air India’s profit-making subsidiaries

As per sources, the government is planning to sell Air India’s profit-making subsidiaries first because despite multiple efforts, no one has come forward to buy the debt-ridden airline

Air India (Photo Courtesy: IANS)
Air India (Photo Courtesy: IANS)

NH Political Bureau

The government is preparing to put on sale Air India’s profit-making subsidiary, Air India Airport Services Limited (AI APS), National Herald has learnt.

Sources privy to the development told National Herald that the Finance Ministry is set to issue preliminary documents for the interested bidders soon.

The company, which was earlier called Air India Air Transport Services Limited, has been a profit-making firm since 2014.

Besides, as per the sources, other Air India subsidiaries like Air India Express – another profit-making venture mainly operating to and from the Middle East – and Air India Engineering Services Ltd may also be put on sale.

The sources claimed that the Modi government is planning to sell these profit-making subsidiaries first because despite multiple efforts, no one has come forward to buy the debt-ridden Air India.

As per the latest data, the AI APS which has 9,474 employees as of March 2019, earned a profit of Rs 63.8 crore during 2018-19.

“AI APS was incorporated in 2003 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Air India Limited for providing manpower for the various departments of Air India, including Ground Handling. Consequent to the Cabinet approval, AI APS has been operationalised with effect from 1 February 2013 as a Ground Handling Company,” reads the website of AI APS.

The AI APS provides ground-handling services such as handling of ramps, passengers, baggage, cargo and cabin for Air India and its associate firms at 81 airports across India, along with ground-handling services to 37 foreign scheduled airlines, three domestic scheduled airlines and four regional airlines.

We contacted Ashvini Kumar Sharma, CEO, AI APS for his comments. The story will be updated as and when he replies.

Meanwhile, sources also told NH that discontent is brewing against the privatization bid among the employees and the unions have planned a nationwide protest in coming days.

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