IndiGo, India's leading low-cost airline in terms of market share, has expressed interest in buying stake in Air India, secretary civil aviation R N Choubey told reporters on Thursday.
"Post the cabinet decision tomorrow, we have received an expression of interest for Air India from IndiGo. They have said that they are interested in Air India," Secretary R N Choubey told reporters.
Minister of State for Aviation Jayant Sinha said other companies too had approached the government informally. “Several companies have approached informally for Air India stake. Got interest from both domestic and international airlines. Haven’t received any formal communication,” he said.
The Cabinet on Wednesday approved divestment of Air India. On Wednesday, finance minister Arun Jaitley said at a press briefing that he would be heading a group to work out procedures for the Air India disinvestment.
Air India has a fleet of 118 aircraft and flies the highest number of passengers to and from India according to Directorate General of Civil Aviation data. It also has coveted parking slots in airports around the world such as New York, Chicago and London besides 18-morning departure slots in Mumbai alone.
Aviation secretary R.N. Choubey said IndiGo will have to apply when the tenders are floated. An IndiGo official who declined to be named confirmed the interest in Air India. The airline’s spokesman said the company was in a silent period and hence could not comment. Meanwhile, IndiGo controls about 40 percent of the domestic market, with 126 planes and 854 daily flights.