No bids for Air India so far: Civil Aviation Secy

No bids for Air India so far: Civil Aviation Secy

An Air India aircraft takes off from the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad. REUTERS

With just one day left for the filing of Expression of Interest (EoI) for entering the bidding process for Air India, the government said on Wednesday that it has not received a single bid, but refused to extend the deadline.

Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey said the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has not received any bid for the national carrier so far.

"There is no scope of extension of deadline for submission of Expression of Interest for Air India. We expect the bids to come in at the last hour, just before the bids closes on May 31," Choubey said.

Earlier this month, the MoCA had extended the deadline from May 14 to May 31, as there was poor response from Indian carriers to the Air India disinvestment.

The announcement to divest 76% of stake in Air India came on March 28, with the May 14 deadline submitting bids and promise to announce the qualified bidders on May 28. With the change in schedule, the list of qualified bidders were now to come on June 15, but if there is no bidder, the process could get delayed.

Earlier, Choubey had said that the government will not sell the stakes if the offers were not impressive.

The Indian carriers have not shown interest in the bidding process and market leader IndiGo and Jet Airways made it public that they are not in the race. Tata Group, which runs Vistara and AirAsia India in joint venture, does not appear keen to take part in the bidding process.

The stake sale in Air India had attracted criticism from Opposition parties and even from the RSS and its affiliates.

Opposing the move, Swadeshi Jagran Manch National Co-convenor Ashwani Mahajan said, "AirIndia has a lot of tangible and intangible visible and invisible assets. We need to run it efficiently not thrown out at throw away cost."