Civil Aviation Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri said that the Central Government is determined to privatise Air India. He further said, "the government should not be in the business of running an airline". Puri said that the government is determined to privatise Air India and is open to 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the aviation sector.
Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that the first meeting of an alternative mechanism for Air India will be conducted soon and subsequently, the disinvestment process will start. The Aviation Minister also said that the Government is waiting for the 'best possible deal' on Air India. The ministry was looking for investors to ease the debt of the airline, therefore, privatisation is the best solution for Air India, the Aviation Minister said.
Questions about the privatisation of Air India are being raised for some time now. On 28 June 2017, the Government of India approved the privatisation of Air India. In 2018, some bidders were also called in. However, no deal could go ahead as the bidders were mostly interested in Air India's liability. With this announcement, Civil Aviation Minister has again clarified the government's stand on Air India.
Hardeep Singh Puri in June had told in Lok Sabha that in FY19, the airline had incurred losses of ₹7,635 crore and received a fund infusion of ₹3,975 crore. Air India had incurred losses of ₹5,374 crore on an average in the preceding four years. The aviation industry has been going through a rough patch lately. Airlines have been demanding the inclusion of aviation tribune fuel, under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) for some time now. Hardeep Singh Puri said the Civil Aviation Ministry is working actively to bring aviation fuel under GST and soon a note will be sent to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.