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Air India Finds New Home: As Maharaja Returns to Tatas, Here’s Timeline of Major Events

Notably, Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy (JRD) Tata had founded the airline in 1932 and named it Tata Airlines.

Published: January 27, 2022 6:35 PM IST

By Business Desk | Edited by Manmath Nayak

Air India
Tata Sons statement: Air India board met this afternoon to consider candidature of Ilker Ayci

Air India Divestment Latest News Today: Nearly after 69 years, Air India on Thursday returned to its founding father, the Tata Group. With this, Air India became the third airline brand in the company’s stable. As part of the deal, the Tata group will also be handed over Air India Express and a 50 per cent stake in ground handling arm Air India SATS.

“Your arrival was much awaited,” tweeted the Tata Group soon after the handover.

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The official takeover by Tata Group ended after years of attempts to sell the money-losing airline that had been kept afloat all these years.

It must be noted that Tata Group founder JRD Tata had originally launched the airline in 1932 as the nation’s first carrier, flying mail between Karachi in then-undivided, British-ruled India and Bombay. However, the airline was later nationalised.

Notably, Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy (JRD) Tata had founded the airline in 1932 and named it Tata Airlines. Later 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 per cent, the Tatas keeping 25 per cent and the public owning the rest.

Here is a timeline of Air India privatisation plan:

June 2017: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) gave its in-principle approval to the consideration for strategic disinvestment of Air India and its five subsidiaries. A Panel of Ministers or Air India Specific Alternate Mechanism (AISAM) was constituted for this purpose.

March 2018: The Central government invited EoI from investors for buying 76 per cent stake in Air India, remaining 26 per cent to be with the government. The buyer was required to take Rs 33,392 crore or close to 70 per cent of the beleaguered carrier’s debt on its books.

May 2018: No bids received for Air India.

June 2018: The Central government decided to go slow on Air India sale till oil prices soften.

January 2020: The Centre again floated EoI for Air India privatisation and said to fully exit Air India by selling 100 per cent. The deal would also include 100 per cent in Air India Express and 50 per cent in ground handling arm AISATS. The last date to bid was extended 5 times until December 14.

October 2020: The Centre sweetened the deal and gave flexibility to investors to decide on the amount of Air India debt they want to absorb.

December 2020: DIPAM Secretary said Air India EOI received “multiple bids”.

March 2021: Hardeep Singh Puri, the then Civil Aviation Minister said that there is no choice. “We either privatise or we close the airline. We run a loss of Rs 20 crore every day despite Air India making money now”.

April 2021: The Centre started inviting financial bids for Air India. September 15 last date to put in bids.

September 2021: The Income Tax department allowed new owners of Air India to carry forward losses and set them off against future profits.

September 2021: The Tata Group, Spicejet Promoter Ajay Singh put in financial bids.

October 8, 2021: The Centre announced that Tata group has made the winning bid of Rs 18,000 crore for Air India.

October 25, 2021: The Centre then signed the share purchase agreement with Tata Group for the handover of Air India.

January 27, 2022: Tata group took ownership of Air India.

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