"But El Al argues that allowing Air India to cross over airspace that is closed to Israeli-owned airlines violated articles 9 and 11 of the 1944 Convention on International Civil Aviation, as well as various Israeli government decisions", the paper said.
Other names raised in media coverage include Singapore Airlines and Qatar Airways.
The Israeli Tourism Ministry has provided Air India with a grant to market its new route as part of a campaign to encourage Indian tourism in Israel.
"The proposed disinvestment of Air India is being examined by the panel".
But all good things must come at a cost and in the case of Air India, the cost that the new owners pay will have to factor in the Rs 33,392 crore (roughly $5 billion) of debt and current liabilities that will remain on Air India Ltd's book. The government has injected $3.6 billion (Rs 23,461 crore at $1 = Rs 65.17) since 2012 to bail out the airline.
Among the permanent staff, as many as 4,217 are set to retire in the next five years, it added.
With its biggest hubs in Dehli and Mumbai, the combined Air India/Air India Express group operated 138 aircraft at the end of 2017, split evenly between Boeing and Airbus Types. "The latest move of sale of 76 percent share of Air India to private players is a move in pursuance of the same policy of sell out of national assets in the name of ease of doing business", the statement says.
The airline is under a massive debt burden of over Rs. 50,000 crore. In addition, the successful bidder would need to ensure that Indian nationals continue to be vested in the substantial ownership and effective control of Air India and Air India Express.
Such conditions appear to open the playing field for everyone from SpiceJet to Jet Airways.
A stake in Air India will also help any European airline take the fight back to their West Asian counterparts which have managed to capture a large chunk of West-bound traffic to and from India.
In the second stage, the highest bidder would be declared as the buyer after requisite security clearances.
Selling a majority stake in the loss-making, 85-year-old company isn't going to be a cakewalk.
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