Having decided to exit Air India completely, the Government has announced the sale of 100 per cent stake in the airline. Bids have been invited for the cash-strapped national carrier for the second time after two years, and the Government has made it clear that the selected bidder will have to offer three per cent of the equity shares to the permanent employees under employee stock options (ESOP), as per the terms and conditions of ESOP to be revealed at the request for proposal or RFP stage.
The staff count at Air India and Air India Express was 16,077 in November, 2019, inclusive of permanent employees
The Centre is expected to reserve approx. 98 crore shares under ESOP. As part of the strategic disinvestment, Air India will also be selling 100 per cent stake in Air India Express, the low-cost airline as well as 50 per cent shareholding in AISATS, which is a joint venture between Air India and Singapore Airlines, for ground-handling services. The management will be under the control of the successful bidder.
All interests of Air India in Air India Engineering Services, Air India Air Transport Services, Airline Allied Services and Hotel Corporation of India will be moved to Air India Assets Holding (AIAHL), which will be a separate company with no connection with the proposed deal.
On closure of the disinevestment, which is being carried out under the advice of EY, the new owner of the airline will be left with only about Rs 23,286 crore worth of debt. This was incurred primarily on buying of aircraft, against Government guarantees.