India’s Civil Aviation Ministry has confirmed that aviation services provider Bird Group has registered its formal interest in Air India (AI, Mumbai Int’l), reports The Economic Times of India. An anonymous executive confirmed the company’s interest in ground services unit Air India Air Transport Services Limited (AIATSL).
“We have also requested the government to sell Air India and its subsidiaries separately, as it would fetch them maximum value for the airline,” the source said. “We operate a ground-handling company in a market where AIATSL is the biggest player, and a bid, if the government decides to sell it separately, will be put by the Bird Group.”
The Indian government is hoping to sell off Air India amid mounting debts which currently stand at around INR520 billion (USD8.12 billion). Other companies to show interest in all or part of the airline include IndiGo Airlines (6E, Delhi Int’l), Tata Group, and US private equity firms KKR & Co. and Warburg Pincus. A Ministerial committee is meeting this week to discuss whether Air India will be disinvested of its successful subsidiaries – AIATSL, Air India Express (IX, Mumbai Int’l) and Alliance Air (India) (9I, Mumbai Int’l) – as part of the process.
Bird Group provides a portfolio of aviation and travel related services including ground handling, customer management, logistics, ticketing, cargo management and baggage handling at Delhi Int’l, Bangalore Int’l and Kochi Int’l.