New Delhi: The Union government announced that Tata Group has won the bid to acquire debt-laden Air India, reuniting the company with its beloved airline after 68 years. Ratan N Tata, chairman emeritus of the conglomerate, welcomed the airline back.
‘Welcome back, Air India,’ the 83-year-old industrialist wrote upon hearing the official announcement. According to him, the airline’s founder JRD Tata would have been thrilled if he had been alive as under his leadership Air India had gained a reputation as one of the world’s best airlines. He thanked the Central government for allowing private sector participation in certain industries recently.
In an accompanying tweet, the former chairman of the group said that while rebuilding Air India would take considerable effort, it would hopefully provide the Tata Group with a very strong market opportunity in the aviation sector. Consequently, the troubled airline would return to the Tatas, who founded it in 1932 as Tata Airlines before nationalizing it in 1953.
According to DIPAM secretary, Tuhin Kant Pandey, the Tatas won the bid at Rs 18,000 crore. ‘The total debt on Air India as of August 31, 2021, is Rs 61,562 crore,’ Pandey further said.
At present, the Tata Group operates Vistara, India’s only other full-service carrier, in a joint venture with Singapore Airlines, as well as budget airline AirAsia India, a joint venture with Malaysia’s AirAsia Group.