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Thursday, 11 January, 2018, 13 : 00 PM [IST]

Singapore Air may bid for Al

According to a report in The Free Press Journal, Singapore Airlines on Wednesday said it is keeping its options open as far as investing in ailing carrier Air India (AI) is concerned, after the government allowed foreign carriers to own up to 49% of the national carrier. "Our priority is the further expansion of Vistara. However, we will keep our options open with respect to the proposed disinvestment of Air India," Singapore Airlines said in an e-mailed statement to the PTI, in response to a query on whether the Singapore-traded company will bid for AI.

Foreign airlines have now been allowed to own up to a 49% stake, under the approval route, in Air India, subject to certain conditions, an official release said earlier in the day "Substantial ownership and effective control of Air India shall continue to be vested in Indian national," the release added. While there have been reports suggesting that the Tatas and Singapore Airlines might jointly bid for Air India, there has been no official word from the government or the carriers concerned. Singapore Airlines owns a 49% stake in full service carrier Vistara. The remainder is with the Tatas. 

Last week, Leslie Thng, CEO, Vistara said that Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines have an "open mind" on the issue of the Air India disinvestment and that they will evaluate any potential business case therein. The Indian government is in the process of finalising the modalities for the strategic disinvestment of debt-laden Air India.
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