BJP Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy on Wednesday reiterated once again that the selling of Air India was not a possibility. Instead, he cited the example of Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) as an alternative solution. Basically, the BJP MP contended that 49% of the shares of Air India should be listed in the stock exchange, a strategy pursued by ONGC. Earlier in the week, he described Air India as “family silver”. Calling the Centre's bid for the disinvestment of the government-owned airline as “anti-national”, Dr. Swamy warned that he would have to approach the court to halt this process.
Air India should be listed for its 49% shares in the Stock Exchange like ONGC. No question of selling— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) January 29, 2020
Swamy has consistently advocated against the outright sale of Air India. In early 2019, he wrote to the Civil Aviation Ministry asking for Jet Airways to be merged with the national carrier, which he contended would help it regain its premier position. Subsequently, he proposed that the government should list only 49% of Air India’s shares on the stock market.
My solution to Air India issue is: list 49% of its shares on the stock market and restrict to Indian and OCI persons. 51% with government.— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) October 12, 2019
Announcing the sale of a 100% stake in debt-laden Air India, the government has set the deadline for submitting Expression of Interest as March 17, 2020. As a part of the disinvestment, Air India would sell a 100% stake in Air India Express and 50% shareholding in AISATS, an equal joint venture between Air India and Singapore Airlines. The government-owned airline’s interests in entities such as Air India Engineering Services, Air India Air Transport Services, Airline Allied Services and Hotel Corporation of India would not be a part of the disinvestment transaction. As per the bid document, a debt of Rs.23,286.5 crore would remain with Air India and Air India Express at the time of closing of the disinvestment.