Now that Air India (AI, Mumbai International) has been sold off, the government of India has begun work on privatising its former subsidiaries AI Engineering Services, AI Airport Services, and the regional carrier Alliance Air (India) (9I, Mumbai International), officials have told the Times of India.

Alliance Air operates Air India Regional services on behalf of the now Tata Sons-owned flag carrier and has continued to use Air India branding for now, but in mid-April the national airline clarified that it was no longer a subsidiary and that it had stopped handling the regional carrier’s bookings and inquiries.

According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, Alliance Air currently operates a leased fleet of eighteen ATR72-600s, with two more of the ATR - Avions de Transport Régional turboprops due for delivery, plus one Do228-200 that was partially manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics and one more on the way. With these, it operates 821 weekly frequencies between 50 destinations as of the week starting August 1, all of them domestic, the ch-aviation capacities module shows.

However, the regional carrier plans to launch its first international route, between Chennai and Jaffna on the northern tip of Sri Lanka, soon, a move that had been planned in 2019 but was shelved with the outbreak of the pandemic.

The new privatisation exercise involves a government guarantee that was given to Alliance Air during the Air India sell-off, and the state will study the carrier’s assets and staff numbers (800 employees) ahead of seeking expressions of interest in the coming months in it and the other two units. All are currently positioned under a state-run SPV, Air India Assets Holding.

The officials speculated to the Times of India that the engineering arm could see the most interest from potential buyers, as Tata Sons has major fleet expansion plans for its airlines, which also include Air India Express, AirAsia India, and Vistara.