AI bidders to soon be analysed

Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of Civil Aviation, has said that the ban on international flights to and from the United Kingdom has been extended till January 7, 2021. He also talks about the Air India disinvestment process, which has crossed the first stage.

Nisha Verma

With a new variant of the coronavirus having been found in the UK, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has extended the temporary suspension of flights to and from the UK till January 7. “Thereafter, strictly regulated resumption will take place,” Hardeep Singh Puri recently said.

The government had initially imposed a temporary suspension when there were almost 60 flights per week to the UK. Puri informed, “We went back to November 25 and did contact tracing and gene sequencing of passengers who had directly or indirectly come from the UK since then. So far, around six people who came from the UK have been reported to have been detected with the new COVID strain.”

In fact, it was also informed that as a measure of increased precaution, passengers arriving from UK in all transit flights (flights that have taken off or flights which reached India before December 22, 2020, at 23:59 hrs) should be subject to mandatory RT-PCR test on arrival at the concerned airports.

Air India update

Speaking about the Air India disinvestment process, Minister Puri said, “In the Air India disinvestment process, we have crossed the first stage, as December 14 was the last date of filing expression of interest. Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) has indicated that multiple bids have been received, out of which those that have qualified after having met the criteria will be disclosed on January 5, 2021. After that, potential bidders will be given 90 days to go through Air India books and accounts. And the government will also get time to vet the potential bidders and do due diligence, after which financial bids will come.”

Adding his view on the subject, Pradeep Singh Kharola, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, said, “The process of disinvestment is made in such a way that it is transparent and robust, and now we are moving on to the second stage of financial bids.”

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