A full takeover of Air India could be on the cards after the country’s government said it was ready to "re-examine" the privatisation process.
India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation received close to 160 queries from potential buyers but none of them had translated into expressions of interest when the deadline passed on 31 May 2018.
The government intended to retain a 24 percent stake in the carrier, but it is now understood to be considering a range of options, including a full divestment.
“A certain kind of strategy was offered that didn’t find many takers and therefore something different will have to be done,” economic affairs secretary Subhash Chandra Garg said in an interview.
“There’s no fixed objective that government should have 24 percent. It can be re-examined.”
India is one of the fastest-growing aviation markets in the world and is set to become the third largest in the world during 2025, according to forecasts from the International Air Transport Association.
However, Air India is saddled with huge debts and has relied on taxpayer-funded bailouts to stay operational. Under the previous sale process, any would-be buyer would have to take on about $5bn of debt.