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Israeli airline cries foul over Air India flights over Saudi airspace

30 March 2018

On offer is a 76% stake in Air India Ltd, 100% stake in Air India Express Ltd and a 50% stake in Air India SATS Airport Services Ltd.

Tata Group, the conglomerate with $103 billion in revenue that owned Air India before it was nationalized, has also said it might consider a bid with its long-time partner Singapore Airlines Ltd.

After going through awful losses year after year, the Government has chose to sell Air India's 76% equity shares and transfer the management control.

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Saudi approval of Air India's new route has been interpreted as a sign of a possible rapprochement with Israel.

It has incurred huge losses but is surviving based on a bailout package of Rs 30,000 crore that began during the tenure of the UPA-2 government and which is continuing under the current NDA government.

Sinha also said that no central government in the world operates an airline and that handing Air India over to a professional team is necessary to restore its past glory, as well as to ensure its survival in a highly competitive world, which may not be possible within the government's framework. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government took a decisive step in that direction - of exiting Air India. There could be a compelling case for an NTPC, ONGC, IOC, SBI, LIC or BHEL to remain state-owned, as they have not only held their own against private competition, but continued to be profitable and dividend-paying entities.

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Till now budget passenger carrier IndiGo has evinced interest in buying the airline's worldwide operations and its subsidiary Air India Express.

The Air India flight is the first Israel-bound route that Saudi Arabia has allowed to use its airspace.

In June 2017, the cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA) gave in-principle nod to the strategic disinvestment of the airline, which has a debt burden of over Rs50,000 crore. So far, only IndiGo has publicly expressed a desire to acquire Air India. "The passengers were offloaded to carry out the security drills", Deputy Commissioner of Police Sanjay Bhatia said. What happens on 28th May, when qualified interested bidders are invited to the second stage of bidding is anyone's guess.

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Israeli airline cries foul over Air India flights over Saudi airspace