The Indian Government has agreed to divest 100% stake in the country’s flag carrier Air India.

The preliminary information memorandum (PIM) has been released seeking an expression of interest (EOI) from the interested bidders (IBs).

The PIM was issued after approval from the Air India Specific Alternative Mechanism (AISAM). India’s Union Ministers of Commerce & Industry, Finance & Corporate Affairs and Civil Aviation are members of AISAM, which is led by the country’s home minister.

As part of the latest PIM, 100% shares of Air India, the 100% stake in Air India Express, and a 50% stake in the AISATS joint venture will be transferred.

Jointly owned between Air India and SATS, AISATS is a gateway services and food solutions provider in Asia.

Air India and its subsidiary Air India Express currently own a fleet of 146 aircraft, 82 of which belongs to the flag carrier. The two entities have a combined strength of 17,984 employees.

The carrier operates in 98 destinations with 56 domestic and 42 international destinations.

AISATS also offers ground handling facilities at metro airports including, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Thiruvananthapuram and Mangalore.

In addition to these, Air India possesses worldwide bilateral rights and domestic and international slots.

Bidders must expect liabilities, along with a debt of Rs232.87bn ($3.258bn).

The announcement also noted that the new investor must agree to continue using the ‘Air India’ brand.

In March 2018, the Government of India’s Civil Aviation Ministry invited EOIs for the sale of 76% equity share capital of the debt-ridden Air India and transfer control of management to private parties.