Air India public issue may be considered soon: Patel

June 1st, 2009 - 4:42 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 1 (IANS) Starting his second innings at the Rajiv Gandhi Bhavan here, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel Monday said the government can soon consider an initial public offer for the cash-strapped National Aviation Company of India.
“The issue, however, will not affect the public sector character of the airline,” Patel told reporters here after formally taking charge of his portfolio, adding that the public offer launch will also depend on market conditions.

“Air India won’t be privatised,” he asserted.

The National Aviation Company, which has been incurring huge losses in the wake of the current downturn and falling demand from passengers, is the entity that runs India’s flag carrier Air India.

The company has an ambitious fleet-acquisition programme running since the past two years, which will see the induction of as many as 111 new aircraft till 2012 from both the US-based Boeing Aircraft Company and Airbus Industrie.

Patel, who has an independent charge of his ministry in the rank of minister of state, said the money raised by the airline will help in its expansion plan.

“It will bring much needed liquidity,” the minister said.

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