New Delhi: A ministerial panel is set to meet next week to explore options regarding the future of Air India Ltd, after an attempt to sell part of the government’s stake in the airline faced a setback last month.

The options before the panel may range from getting Air India listed to full privatisation or even calling off the sale, said an official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

That decision is expected to be a political one as the government’s handling of the loss-making national carrier has the potential to become a thorny political issue in the last year of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government before national elections are held next year.

One of the options policymakers are examining is to let Air India tap the capital markets by getting listed, the official cited above said.

The profitability of the company will be a key criteria in getting listed. The Securities and Exchange Board of India’s norms mandate that a company that goes for initial public offering (IPO) has to have a reported a pre-tax operating profit in at least three of the immediately preceding five years.