Weeks after the Air India chief stated that the airline's financial situation was "grossly untenable" for sustaining operations, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri clarified that the national carrier, which is incurring a loss of Rs 20-26 crore daily, will keep on running till it is privatised.
"Air India is running. Air India will keep on running. But Air India has to be privatised because it is incurring a daily loss of Rs 20-26 crore. This is taxpayer's money that can be more profitably spent," he told reporters here. While disinvestment-bound Air India's net loss in 2018-19 was around Rs 8,556 crore, its current total debt is around Rs 80,000 crore.
"We made an attempt two years ago. That attempt proved to be less than successful. We have learnt from that experience. It is our endeavour now that we will be issuing an expression of interest in the coming few weeks. Hopefully, sooner than later," Puri said.
"We want an Indian entity, for strategic reasons, to be acquiring the company," the minister added.
In 2018, the Government had proposed to offload 76 per cent equity share capital of the national carrier as well as transfer the management control to private players.