Indian govt eyes FY25 sale of Air India subsidiaries

01 Feb 2024

In the fiscal year 2025, the Indian government is contemplating the sale of its shares in the former subsidiaries of Air India, as stated by Tuhin Kanta Pandey, the secretary of the department of investment and public asset management.

Nevertheless, the privatisation of Container Corporation of India is not anticipated to progress in the near future. The subsidiaries being considered for divestment encompass Air India Air Transport Services, Airline Allied Services, Air India Engineering Services, and Hotel Corporation of India.

Pandey remarked, "The Air India subsidiaries can be taken up for disinvestment; they're part of the ongoing (pipeline)."

Previously, the government conducted road shows for the divestment of Air India Engineering Services Ltd and approved the divestment process last year. These assets are under the purview of Air India Assets Holding, a special purpose vehicle established in 2019 to manage the non-core assets and debt of Air India.

Although the Cabinet sanctioned the divestment of all subsidiaries in 2017, the process of soliciting interest in these companies is yet to commence. In contrast, there is no clarification from the government regarding the initiation of the divestment process for Container Corporation of India in the upcoming financial year.

On January 27, 2022, Tata Sons acquired a 100 per cent stake in Air India through its fully-owned subsidiary Talace Private Limited. Subsequently, it was announced that Air India and Vistara would merge into a single entity, likely to be completed by March 2024, with Singapore Airlines holding a 25 per cent stake in the merged entity.

Furthermore, Air India Express and Air Asia India will also be amalgamated to form a single low-cost airline. To realise this objective, the Tata Group devised an extensive transformation plan for the airline, including a significant expansion of its fleet.

Last year, Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekaran stated at the BT Mindrush & BT Best CEOs Awards event, "The transformation is happening in human resources. We have completely revamped the technology. We are revamping engineering and ground handling. The entire fleet will get changed. We have made one of the biggest [aircraft] orders. And that's a very bold bet."

In June of the preceding year, the airline entered into purchase agreements for 470 aircraft with Airbus and Boeing, following an announcement in February. The combined value of these purchase agreements, based on the list price of the aircraft, amounts to approximately $70 billion.

Air India's orders comprise 34 A350-1000, six A350-900, 20 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, and 10 Boeing 777X wide-body aircraft, as well as 140 Airbus A320neo, 70 Airbus A321neo, and 190 Boeing 737MAX narrow-body aircraft. Additionally, the airline retains options to purchase another 370 planes, with 300 from Airbus and 70 from Boeing.

Related Stories