Air India
Air IndiaReuters

Civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju on Monday said that privatisation of Air India cannot be ruled out in the future, though it will not happen immediately.

The aviation minister's statement comes on a day when he released the draft civil aviation policy, in which he proposed that the state-owned Airports Authority of India (AAI) and national helicopter company Pawan Hans be listed on the stock exchanges to improve transparency and efficiency.

Stating that there were suggestions for the privatisation of Air India from several quarters, he said it cannot happen immediately and that an expert committee will be set up to chart out the future plan for the national carrier, Press Trust of India reported.

"It is essential to ensure that the national carrier achieves its full potential," Raju said.

Raju said the proposal to list AAI on stock exchanges was part of the move by the ministry to ensure that all its organisations are competitive in terms of cost and efficiency.

"AAI will be corporatised followed by its listing on the stock exchanges to improve efficiency and transparency," the minister said.

AAI controls 125 airports across the country, including 11 international, 81 domestic and eight customs airports. It also manages 25 civil enclaves at defence airfields.

Pawan Hans Ltd, which was incorporated in 1985, has grown to comprise 47 helicopters, one of the largest in Asia.

The Indian government holds 51% of the shares in the helicopter company at present, while the state-run ONGC holds the other 49%.