After failed sell-off attempts in 2001, the boards of Air India and Indian Airlines have given in-principle approval for proposed partial privatisations to raise cash for expansion. Both carriers say they would like to see partial sell-offs through initial public offerings (IPOs), although such moves would be some time away as many sets of government approvals would be needed.

Air India board members gave their in-principle approval for an IPO at a directors' meeting at the end of April. Specifics of when and how much have not been given. It is only a concept at this stage, the airline adds, as financial advisers have not been appointed.

However, it followed a similar move by Indian Airlines, which has said it wanted an IPO either late this year or early next year. This would raise funds for a fleet expansion that has been planned for years but is yet to be approved by the government.

Late last year the government first hinted it may seek to revive failed privatisation efforts of the two carriers. Civil aviation minister Praful Patel said that partial privatisations were needed to help finance growth of the state-owned airlines as the market continues to be opened up to competition. The government said the comments were conceptual in nature, however.

Source: Airline Business