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Jet Airways, Air France-KLM, Delta consortium to bid for Air India

New Delhi: A consortium of Jet Airways, Air France-KLM and Delta Airlines understood to have expressed interest in the disinvestment of national carrier Air India, according to sources.

Moving ahead with the strategic disinvestment of loss-making Air India, the government is expected to soon invite Expression of Interest (EoI) from the bidders.

Against this backdrop, sources said a consortium of three full services, including Jet Airways, are keen to put in their bid for the national carrier.

Jet Airways along with Air France-KLM and Delta Air Lines are interested in participating in Air India disinvestment, sources told Press Trust of India.

When contacted, a Jet Airways spokesperson said the airline would not like to comment on speculations. Also, queries sent to Air France-KLM and Delta remained unanswered.

Jet Airways' possible bid for Air India by way of a consortium also comes less than four months after the Naresh Goyal-led airline enhanced cooperation agreement with the Air France-KLM Group.

Interestingly, Jet Airways CEO Vinay Dube had a decade-long career at Delta Air Lines before joining the Indian carrier last year. Immediately before coming to Jet Airways, he was Senior Vice President (Asia Pacific) at the American airline.

Air France-KLM and its partners Delta and Alitalia operate the largest Trans-Atlantic joint-venture with over 270 daily flights.

Though Air India is saddled with huge debt, acquiring the airline can help boost the acquirer in terms of foot print and bilateral rights.

While a group of ministers are still in the process of finalising the contours of Air India stake sale, the civil aviation ministry has so far said that officially it has received expression of interest from at least no-frills carrier IndiGo and an unidentified foreign airline.

The enhanced partnership between Jet Airways and Air France-KLM Group, announced in November, would help in boosting connectivity between 106 European cities and 44 domestic destinations.

At that time, Naresh Goyal had said he would speak to the group chairmen of Air France-KLM and Delta to explore the possibility of deepening this cooperation through joint purchase of fuel and closer tie-ups in engineering and maintenance all of which would be revenue accretive.-PTI

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