Monday, Mar 27, 2023

Tata Group Reclaims Air India After 68 Years

Tata Group Reclaims Air India After 68 Years

Talace Private Limited, a subsidiary of Tata Group, had won a bid worth Rs 18,000 crore to acquire the airline last year.

Tata Group had won a Rs 18,000 Crore bid last year to acquire Air India.
Tata Group had won a Rs 18,000 Crore bid last year to acquire Air India. Deposit Photos

Tata Group has officially taken over the debt-ridden airline Air India from the government of India, and all procedures regarding the disinvestment of the airline have been completed, the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management said on Thursday. 

“The Air India strategic disinvestment transaction has been completed today with Government receiving a consideration of Rs 2,700 crore from the Strategic Partner (M/s Talace Pvt Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of M/s Tata Sons Pvt Ltd), retaining debt of Rs 15,300 crore in Air India and AIXL and transferring shares of Air India (100% shares of Air India and its subsidiary AIXL and 50% shares of AISATS) to the Strategic Partner,” the statement said. 

Before the official handover of the airline, N Chandrasekaran, the Chairman of Tata Sons Pvt Ltd met Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Commenting on the development, Chandrasekaran said, “At the Tata group, we are delighted to be declared as the winner of the bid for AIR INDIA. This is a historic moment, and it will be a rare privilege for our group to own and operate the country’s flag bearer airline. It will be our endeavour to build a world-class airline that makes every Indian proud. On this occasion, I would like to pay tribute to JRD Tata, pioneer of Indian aviation, whose memory we cherish.”

With the takeover, Talace Private Limited, a subsidiary of Tata Group, which won a bid worth Rs 18000 crore to acquire the airline last year, will also acquire Air India Express and a 50 per cent stake in Air India SATS.  

However, the journey of Tata Group reclaiming back the 'Maharaja' after 68 years, is nothing short of twists and turns. Here is a timeline of Air India's return to Tata Group.

February 1929: Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata, also known as, JRD Tata, the patriarch of Tata Group was the first Indian to obtain a pilot’s license.  

October 15, 1932: Tata Airlines was born. The first airmail service by Tata Airlines between Karachi and Bombay was launched. 

January 1, 1946: Civil aviation in India gained commercial status after World War II

August 1946: Tata Airlines became public under the name Air India. 

March 1948: The government of India acquired Air India International with a 49% stake.

March 1953: Air Corporations Act was passed in the parliament. As per the Act, all scheduled airlines were incorporated into two entities—Indian Airlines and Air India International, and the government held majority stakes in both the entities.

August 1953: Domestic business’ of Air India was taken over by Indian Airlines. 

April 1960: Boeing 707 planes were included in the Air India fleet.

February 1978: JRD Tata was removed from the board of Air India and Indian Airlines by the Morarji Desai government after an Air India Boeing 747 crashed killing 213 people on board in Bombay. 

April 1980: JRD Tata was reinstated on the board of Air India and Indian Airlines by the Indira Gandhi Government.

1986: JRD Tata stepped down from both the boards. Ratan Tata, his successor was appointed as the chairman of Air India by the Rajiv Gandhi government. 

1989: Ratan Tata stepped down as the chairman of Air India. 

2001: Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led government made the first attempt to disinvest Air India by selling a 40 per cent stake of the airline. Tata Sons planned to acquire that stake in Air India along with Singapore Airlines. Singapore Airlines withdrew from the bid. 

2004: Air India Express, a low-cost subsidiary of Air India was launched. 

2007: Air India merged with Indian Airlines. 

2012: The debt of Air India swelled to Rs 43,000 crore, with losses of Rs 20,000 crore. Manmohan Singh government approved the turnaround plan and the financial restructuring plan for Air India. 

2017: Narendra Modi-led government made the second attempt to sell a 76 per cent stake in the airline. But with the government’s decision to hold onto a 24 per cent stake, no bidders came forward. 

January 2020: Modi government made the third attempt to disinvest Air India, by selling off a 100 per cent stake in the airline. Air India now had a debt of Rs 60,000 crore.

September 2021:  Tata Group and SpiceJet promoter Ajay Singh made the financial bid for the airline. 

October 8, 2021: Talace Private Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tata Group won the bid to acquire Air India. 

October 11, 2021: The government of India, issued a Letter of Intent (LoI) to the Tata Group, confirming the government’s willingness to sell the 100 per cent stake in the airline.

October 25, 2021: Modi government signed the share purchase agreement of the deal.

January 27, 2022: A State Bank of India-led consortium agreed to grant loans to Tata Group for the operations of Air India. 

January 27, 2022: Air India was handed over back to Tata Group.