After a competitive bidding process and multiple attempts, the Union government had on October 8, 2021, sold Air India to the Tata Group for Rs 18,000 crore.

An Air India aircraft on the tarmac
Money Aviation Thursday, January 27, 2022 - 19:14

The Union government officially handed over Air India to the Tata Group on Thursday, January 27, nearly 69 years after it was taken from the Mumbai-based conglomerate. The handover took place at the airline's headquarters. Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekharan said the group is very happy to have Air India back in its fold, after beating a consortium led by rival SpiceJet promoter to win the bid for the national carrier in October last year.

N Chandrasekaran, Chairman of Tata Sons, first called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi before heading to the Air India office where the takeover formalities were completed. A new board of directors met shortly thereafter, formalising the management takeover.

Speaking to reporters, Chandrasekharan said, "We are totally delighted that the takeover process of Air India is complete." "We are very happy to have Air India back in the Tata Group. We look forward to working with everyone to create a world-class airline," he added.

> Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) Secretary Tuhin Kanta Pandey told reporters that Air India has been handed over to Talace Private Limited — a subsidiary of the Tata Group's holding company — which is the successful bidder. The complete payment of Rs 2,700 crore has been received by the government and it has transferred the shares, according to Tuhin Kanta Pandey. The entire debt of Rs 15,300 crore has also been accepted by the Tatas. All the processes are complete, he added. 

> The entire nation's eyes are on the Tata Group and Air India waiting to see what they will achieve together, Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran told the carrier's employees in his first communique after taking over the airline.

> With the new owner shelling out Rs 18,000 crore for the buyout of the 'Maharaja', this would be the highest-ever amount garnered through privatisation, and is even more than the cumulative sum mopped up through strategic sales from 1999-00 to 2003-04. The government had in October last year inked the share purchase agreement with the Tata Group for sale of national carrier Air India for Rs 18,000 crore. Tatas would pay Rs 2,700 crore cash and take over Rs 15,300 crore of the airline's debt. The deal also includes sale of Air India Express and ground handling arm AISATS.

> Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy (JRD) Tata founded the airline in 1932 and named it Tata Airlines. In 1946, the aviation division of Tata Sons was listed as Air India, and in 1948, Air India International was launched with flights to Europe. The international service was among the first public-private partnerships in India, with the government holding 49%, the Tatas keeping 25% and the public owning the rest.

In 1953, Air India was nationalised and for the next over four decades it remained the prized possession for India, controlling the majority of the domestic airspace. With the opening up of the aviation sector to private players in 1994-95 and private entities offering cheaper tickets, Air India gradually started losing market share. 

> After a competitive bidding process and multiple attempts, the Union government had on October 8 last year sold Air India to Talace Private Limited for Rs 18,000 crore.

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