Tata Group retakes control of Air India

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Tata Group has emerged as the successful bidder for troubled national flag-carrier, Air India.

Holding company Tata Sons, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Talace, submitted a winning bid of £1.7 billion for the carrier, which was auctioned by the Indian government.

The sale marks the return of Air India to the Tata Group, a pioneer in Indian commercial aviation when it first launched the airline in 1932, before it was taken over by the government in 1953.

The winning bit beat an offer of £1.5 billion from SpiceJet chief executive, Ajay Singh.

Following the acquisition, the Tatas will own a 100 per cent stake in Air India, a full-service airline operating in domestic and international markets.

The organisation will also take complete control of subsidiary Air India Express, a low-cost carrier airline that focusses on short-haul international operations especially in the Middle East market.

Tata also takes a 50 per cent stake in the joint venture Air India SATS, an airport services and ground handling operation.

Commenting on the development, N. Chandrasekaran, chairman, Tata Sons, 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.”

The Tatas will get ownership of iconic brands like Air India, Indian Airlines and the Maharajah.

Air India has a fleet of 117 wide-body and narrow-body aircraft and AIXL has a fleet of 24 narrow-body aircraft.

A significant number of these aircraft are owned by Air India.

The carrier has been consistently unprofitable in recent years, with an initial attempt to sell the carrier in 2018 attracting little interest.