Union Minister for Civil Aviation (independent charge) Hardeep Singh Puri on Thursday said, “The government’s determination to privatise Air India is a given, it’s undiluted. It should be total privatisation. We have to get the best possible deal in the shortest time possible.”

Total or 100 per cent privatisation of Air India will happen, Puri said at a press conference.

The government had appointed Air India Specific Alternative Mechanism (AISAM) which recommended disinvestment of the national carrier. In the previous attempt, the government sought to sell 76% of its stake and retain the remainder. This was supposed to be the main reason why no private player came forward to participate in the privatisation process.

A Group of Ministers headed by Amit Shah was likely to meet “in the next few days” to look into the proposal prepared by the Ministry of Civil Aviation and reviewed by the Committee of Secretaries at a recent meeting, Puri said, adding that major players are interested in Air India.

Learning from the past the government realised the need for a complete exit from Air India. Air India till March 19 had a huge debt size of Rs 58,000 crore which was another big obstacle in the deal.