By Rohit Vaid
New Delhi, Feb 19 (IANS) After receiving interest for Air India, Centre now plans to invite bids for the national carrier’s ground handling company — Air India Airport Services — within the next 2 months.
Accordingly, the express of interest (EoI) will be issued soon within the next two months, Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola told IANS.
The entities has been transferred to a SPV — Air India Assets Holding — as Air India has already been put on block to be divested.
Notably, the national carrier’s wholly-owned subsidiary is a profitable venture.
It is engaged in ground handling services which are offered to other airlines as well.
In terms of financials, AIAPS is a debt free company and has been a profitable venture since the first year of its autonomous operations in 2014-15.
According to the company’s annual report, its FY19 net profit had risen to Rs 63.81 crore from Rs 53.84 crore reported for FY18.
Similarly, the total revenue grew to Rs 707.16 crore from Rs 669.26 crore (restated) during 2017-18.
In 2018-19, the process of strategic sale was initiated with appointment of a transaction advisor and issuance of Preliminary Information Memorandum.
However, the Centre’s earlier attempts to divest close to 100 per cent stake in the company did not elicit healthy response.
Formerly known as – Air India Air Transport Services Limited – the company was formed with an aim to provide unified ground handling services including ramp, passenger, baggage, cargo handling and cabin cleaning.
Presently, it provides ground handling services at 81 airports.
Apart from handling the flights of Air India and its subsidiary companies, ground handling is also provided for 37 foreign scheduled airlines, 3 domestic scheduled airlines, 4 regional airlines, 12 seasonal charter airlines, 23 foreign airlines availing perishable cargo handling.
It has a market share of approximately 48 per cent of handling foreign carriers flights operating into India.
(Rohit Vaid can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)