hi everybody..it seem that af is after air india again. Is this deal viable? Does it affect competition at all and what would indian airlines response be?
comments welcome..krgds to all
Air France chief to have another go at A-I
G Ganapathy Subramaniam
AFTER its initial bid was abandoned mid-air, Air France is doing another take-off on Air-India. Its CEO Jean Cyril Spinetta is visiting India next week to explore the possibility of having another go at the national carrier.
This even as the disinvestment programme for Air-India is all set to enter the final lap.
The possibility of a re-bid or a tie-up with the Hinduja group are among the points which are being explored now, industry sources said.
However, the official version is that the big boss of Air France will be in town to participate in a reception to bid farewell to Gerald Petit, the general manager of the airline in India.
The French ambassador in New Delhi is hosting a reception on June 12 to bid farewell to Petit and welcome his successor, Jean-Louis Calmettes.
Apart from the reception and conferring of a `gold medal on tourism’ to the outgoing Air France boss in India, the schedule of Spinetta includes a meeting with disinvestment secretary Pradeep Baijal and civil aviation minister Sharad Yadav.
The Air France chief executive is here only on June 12 and senior officials of the company, including vice president Dominique Perit, will be accompanying him.
Air France is looking at a situation where a rebid for Air-India will give the Paris-based company another chance, industry sources said.
It may also seek additional bilateral rights to expand its network in India, industry sources said.
In partnership with Delta of the US, Air France was very keen on taking up equity in Air-India and had even filed expression of interest.
However, due to lack of a suitable domestic partner, the bid was not pursued.
Air France did not file initial technical proposal as scheduled since its negotiations with ITC did not succeed into a partnership, sources said.
The main reason was the quantum of investment necessary to take up 40 per cent equity in Air-India which has been earmarked for a strategic partner.
According to the rules laid down by the government, a foreign airline can take up 26 per cent equity in the national carrier but it is necessary to set aside 14 per cent equity for a domestic partner.
A re-bid with a different set of rules could open the doors for Air France, officials of the company feel.
However, there has been no official work on the issue from the India office of the airline since the matter is being handed by the headquarters in Paris.