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Turkish firm Celebi keen on buying Air India's ground handling wing

'Celebi has written to us with an interest in Air India's ground handling business,' civil aviation secretary RN Choubey said. Photograph: (Reuters)

New Delhi, Delhi, India Sep 08, 2017, 03.16 PM (IST)

Private Turkish firm Celebi Holding has written to the government expressing interest in buying the ground handling arm of Air India, according to civil aviation secretary RN Choubey.

In India, Celebi provides ground handling services at international airports in Mumbai and Delhi.

Celebi is the first foreign entity to show interest in the stake sale of Air India.

"Celebi has written to us with an interest in Air India's ground handling business," Choubey confirmed to PTI.

Last month, aviation services provider Bird Group too had shown interest in acquiring Air India's Air Transport Services Limited (AIATSL).

The Union Cabinet had given its in-principle approval for strategic disinvestment of Air India and its five subsidiaries in June this year.

Some of the other subsidiaries of Air India include Air India Charters Limited, IAL Airport Services Limited, Airline Allied Services Limited and Air India Engineering Services Limited.

On the day the Cabinet took the decision, InterGlobe Aviation, which runs the low-cost carrier IndiGo, wrote to the government showing its keenness on acquiring the international airline operations of Air India and its low-cost subsidiary Air India Express.

In a recent interview to PTI, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said that the "Indian mindset" was to keep the ownership of Air India within the country but all options were open, including allowing foreign bidders. 

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