The central government expects to privatize national carrier Air India at a much lower valuation than what it was hoping for pre-pandemic.
Senior government officials in the Civil Aviation Ministry and the Finance Ministry say that the virus is expected to keep dragging the revenues and profits of the airline and reduce the valuation of some of its prized assets like landing slots and travel routes.
Even then, the intent is to go ahead with the sale, as the decision makers in the government do not believe any more taxpayer money should be pumped into the ailing airline.
“We expect bids coming in for Air India to be lower than earlier expected, especially due to the second wave of the virus that has started in the country. Valuations of Air India’s fleet, landing slots, and international and domestic travel routes may also be slightly lower,” a government source told Moneycontrol.
The source added that due to restrictions in air travel currently imposed both domestically and on international routes, Air India’s landing slots and travel routes, the airline’s two biggest assets apart from its fleet, may fetch lower valuations.