India government prefers local buyer for Air India

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The government of India would prefer selling state-owned Air India to a domestic buyer, a government official confirmed, it concludes the privatization process, Reuters report.

Meanwhile the government had stated earlier in the year that it would sell its stake in the loss-making airline but it has yet to decide what to do with the carrier’s debt burden of USD8.5 billion.

“When 84 per cent of the aviation market can be run by private airlines there is no reason why it cannot go to 100 per cent”, India’s finance minister Arun Jaitley told reporters back then.

“When I briefly worked as the minister for civil aviation in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, I had signed on Air India’s file asking for its total disinvestment”, he added.

The government plans to sell air India’s various businesses—which include ground-handling, domestic operations and international flights—in parts, the official said.