New Delhi: With COVID-19 crisis escalating by the day impacting market and business sentiments, the government has extended the date for submitting the bids for buying 100 per cent stake in national carrier Air India by almost a month and half to April 30.
As per the preliminary information memorandum (PIM) issues in January, the date for submitting the bid was march 17, 2020.
The deadlines for response to bidder queries and announcing the name of those short-listed have also been extended. Accordingly, the new date for response to bidder queries on PIM is March 20 and for announcement of short-listed bidders is May 14.
"Further changes with respect to the important dates, if any, will be communicated to the interested bidders subsequently," Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) said in its third corrigendum related to Air India disinvestment.
DIPAM said that the dates have been extended as interested bidders had demanded the same in the wake of Coronavirus spread.
The government on January 27 invited expression of interest (EoI) from prospective buyers of Air India and two of its subsidiaries. Along with Air India and its low-cost subsidiary Air India Express, the flag carrier's 50 per cent stake in ground-handling arm AISATS has also been put on the block.
In its second attempt to sell Air India, the Modi government has sweetened the deal by substantially reducing the debt on the books of the airline and offered complete 100 per cent stake in the loss-making airline.
As per preliminary information memorandum (PIM) inviting the EoI, Air India is one of the most extensive flight service providers in India with network coverage of 98 destinations (56 domestic destinations with around 2,712 departures per week and 42 international destinations with around 450 departures per week).
The airline offers 75 additional destinations through its secondary network of code share operations covered under 25 code share agreements with foreign carriers.
During FY 2019, Air India carried around 22.1 million passengers and recorded operational revenues of Rs 25,508 crore.