The journey that started seven decades ago has finally come to a full circle with Tata Group acquiring a 100 per cent stake in Air India from the Government of India. The airline was formally handed over to Tata Group at a ceremony held in the national capital. Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran along with other senior officials of the company attended the handing over ceremony. “We are happy that Air India is back with Tata Group,” Chandrasekaran said to reporters after the handover ceremony.
The Tata Group, in a Twitter post, tagged Air India and said: “Your arrival was much awaited.” It also posted a photo saying “Welcome back, Air India!”.
Air India too shared a post on Twitter saying it was looking forward to soaring high, propelled by the rich legacy of the two iconic brands.”Brand new chapter unfolds for Air India as part of the Group. Two iconic names come together to embark on a voyage of excellence,” the airline tweeted from its official handle.” Looking forward to soaring high propelled by our rich legacy and shared mission to serve our nation. Welcome aboard. @TataCompaies,” it added.
The company took over Air India along with its low-cost international budget arm Air India Express and ground handling and cargo handling services unit AISATS.
How did Tatas get back Air India after 7 decades?
On 8 October 2021, Talace Private Limited — a subsidiary of the Tata Group’s holding company Tata Sons — won the bid to acquire debt-ridden Air India. Tatas offered Rs 18,000 crore as part of the winning bid — Rs 15,300 crore for Air India’s existing debt and Rs 2,700 crore to be paid as cash to the government. On 11 October 2021, a Letter of Intent (LoI) was issued to the Tata Group confirming the government’s willingness to sell its 100 per cent stake in the airline. On 25 October, the government signed the share purchase agreement for the deal.
When the Tata Group won the bid to acquire Air India in October last year, Ratan Tata had tweeted an old photograph of the company’s former Chairman JRD Tata getting down from an Air India aircraft, stating, “Welcome Back, Air India”.
The journey from 1932 to 2022
Tata Group Founder JRD Tata had originally launched the airline in 1932 as the nation’s first carrier, flying mail between Karachi and Bombay. It was nationalised in 1953.
The challenge ahead for the Tatas
The new owners to take stock of the challenges they face and how to address them, before taking the Maharaja back to the heights and glory it enjoyed under JRD Tata. One of the challenges is ageing. Air India currently has 117 planes.
Tatas have 4 airlines in its Kitty
The Tata Sons’ winning bid for Air India has made the group owner of four airlines in all: Vistara, Air Asia, Air India and its low-cost arm Air India Express, which flies primarily on the Kerala-Gulf sector.