Ministry keen on keeping Air India brand name

Has a value from an emotional perspective, says Minister

June 29, 2017 09:22 pm | Updated 09:24 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Ashok Gajapathi Raju

Ashok Gajapathi Raju

The Civil Aviation Ministry is in favour of retaining Air India’s (AI) brand name even as the Centre is looking for a strategic investor to buy a stake in the national carrier.

Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said the brand name Air India had a “sentimental value attached to it.”

Brand value

“It would make economic sense to stay with the Air India brand,” Minister of State Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha told the mediaon Thursday. “It also has a value from an emotional perspective. Anybody interested in Air India will be keen on its brand value as well.”

The airline was founded by J.R.D. Tata as Tata Airlines in 1932. Tata Airlines became a public limited company under the name Air India. Even after the merger of its national and international operations, it continued to operate under the Air India brand.

The government clarified that the stake sale in AI will not impact its flight operations. “We are very clear that all commitments and contracts that Air India has undertaken right now will be fully honoured. It pertains to passengers, employees, financial institutions and all other stakeholders,” Mr. Sinha said.

The Aviation Ministrysaid that the group constituted under Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to chalk out the path of AI’s strategic disinvestment will deliberate upon a proposal to hive off its assets to a shell company. “The non-operational assets of Air India such as real estate and art treasures may be hived off. The group will take a final call on it,” Civil Aviation Secretary R.N. Choubey said.

He said the group would also take a decision on whether the subsidiaries will be divested separately. “Whether subsidiaries should go as part of Air India meaning whoever buys Air India automatically buys this or whether they should be completely de-merged and divested simultaneously but separately will be decided,” he added. The Centre was also open to sell Alliance Air and Air India Express to private players.

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