Air India generic
Air India jets at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi. (File Photo) Image Credit: AP

Mumbai: Air India CMD Aswani Lohani said on Wednesday that rumours that national carrier is going to shut down are totally false.

"Air India employees need not worry. Nothing wrong will happen to them... Rumours that Air India is going to shut down are totally false. Air India will continue its operations," Lohani told reporters here.

Lohani also attended an exhibition on Air India here.

"Air India is still a great airline. It is always there when the country needs Air India. Recently, we brought back Indians from Wuhan. There are a lot of other evacuation stories," he said.

Earlier, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had said that the entire dues and arrears of Air India employees will be paid before the proposed disinvestment of the airline is concluded, as the government set the ball rolling for the privatisation of the national carrier.

The government had invited preliminary bids to divest its entire stake in Air India, and the airline's subsidiary Air India Express along with its joint venture Air India SATS Airport Services Private Limited.

The Civil Aviation Minister had on January 2 met representatives of various employees unions of Air India and addressed their concerns regarding the privatisation of the national carrier.

The government has said that privatisation of debt-ridden airline has become a compulsion as fear grows about its shutdown.

The minister had also said that debt over Air India has made it "unsustainable" and the national carrier needs to go in private hands to keep it running.

Earlier today, the government invited preliminary bids to divest its entire stake in Air India, and the airline's subsidiary Air India Express along with its joint venture Air India SATS Airport Services Private Limited.

As per a preliminary information memorandum (PIM) issued by the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management, the last date for submission of expression of interest is March 17 and qualified bidders will be notified on March 31.