Eyeing to generate revenue from asset sale during the next financial year, the government is reportedly considering selling up to 49 percent stake in Air India.
The government said Wednesday that it is planning to form a panel that would include members from civil aviation ministry, cabinet secretariat, Air India and finance ministry to consider selling the stake, Reuters reported, citing NewsRise Financial.
Air India, which is India's third-largest airline by market share, last made profits in 2007. Since then, the company has recorded losses owing to stiff competition from private airlines such as IndiGo, Jet Airways and SpiceJet.
The national carrier is expected to earn an operating profit of Rs eight crore in the current financial year, the government said Tuesday. In the previous year, it posted operating losses of about Rs 2,636 crore.
"Air India is expected to post substantial improvements as per the revised estimates of 2015-16. It is expected to earn an operating profit of Rs 8 crore as compared to the loss of Rs 2,636.18 crore in the previous year. This is the first time the company is going to achieve operating profit since its merger in 2007-08," Mahesh Sharma, aviation minister of sate, was quoted as saying by Press Trust of India.
Two months ago, the loss-making airline was eyeing investments worth Rs 4,300 crore from the government, as the carrier wanted to boost revenues in a fiercely competitive market. At present the airline is surviving on a bailout package of Rs 30, 231 crore extended by the government in 2012.
[1 lakh = 100,000 | 1 crore = 10 million | 100 crore = 1 billion]