The central government on Wednesday decided to disinvest the state-run Air India, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley announced.
A group will be set up to finalise modalities/details of disinvestment of Air India, including the quantum of stake sale, he said.
The civil aviation ministry is charting out the disinvestment of the state-run carrier.
Surviving on taxpayers' money, Air India has been in the red for long and various proposals, including government think tank Niti Aayog's suggestion for complete privatisation, have been made.
The airline has a debt of more than Rs 52,000 crore and is surviving on a Rs 30,000-crore bailout package extended by the previous UPA government in 2012.
Air India constitutes of the largest fleet of 140 planes in India.
According to reports, the cabinet chose between two options suggested in a 30-page note prepared by the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) after discussions in a Committee of Secretaries, headed by the cabinet secretary.
Sources said Tata group is evaluating options on buying stake in Air India. In this regard, there have been internal meetings as well as meetings with government representatives, sources added.
Interestingly, flying in the black for the second year straight, Air India Express on Wednesday reported net profit of Rs296.7 crore for 2016-17, helped primarily by higher revenues and reduced costs. The Air India, however, saw its net profit fall from Rs361.68 crore in financial year ended March 2016.
“The net profit earned in 2016-17 is particularly significant as the competition from Indian private carriers increased considerably during the year,” Air India Express CEO K Shyam Sundar told PTI.
(With PTI Inputs)