Air India (AI, Mumbai Int'l) will have to be closed if the privatisation of the carrier fails, India's Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said during a hearing in the upper house of the Parliament of India (Rajya Sabha).

As reported by the Indian media, Puri said that a governmental committee chaired by Home Minister Amit Shah is currently finalising the Preliminary Information Memorandum (PIM) for the Expression Of Interest (EOI), which will become the foundational document governing the planned privatisation.

In a separate response to a question in the lower house of parliament (Lok Sabha), Puri said that the government was prepared to sell all of its shares in Air India along with Air India Express (IX, Mumbai Int'l), and a 50% stake in Air India SATS Airport Services (AISATS). The flag carrier is currently wholly state-owned.

The government has previously set a March 31 deadline for the privatisation drive to be completed. It is the second time it is attempting to relinquish control of the flag carrier. In 2018, no bids were submitted for a 76% stake in Air India, 100% of Air India Express (IX, Mumbai Int'l), and 50% of AISATS.

Foreign ownership rules limit the share of a potential foreign investor in Air India to 49%, although the government has suggested its readiness to lift this cap.