Editorial: Will they fly high?

Tata Group has emerged as the winning bidder to takeover Air India. Remember it was once started by them before the government decided to nationalise the air carrier in 1953.

Ratan Tata, the chairman emeritus of Tata Sons, on Friday tweeted an old photograph of the company’s former chairman JRD Tata getting down from an Air India aircraft, minutes after Tata Sons won the bid to regain control of the airline.

‘The Tata Group winning the bid for Air India is great news! While admittedly it will take considerable effort to rebuild Air India, it will hopefully provide a very strong market opportunity to the Tata Group’s presence in the aviation industry, he said.

It was in 1932 that Tatas’ journey into the aviation sector in India began, which in 1946 led to the renaming of the Tata Airline to Air India after the entity turned public. The airline went out from its hands in 1953 when the government decided to nationalise it.

Under the deal now, Tata Sons will acquire Air India, 50 per cent of Air India-Sats, and Air India Express. The government will get Rs 2,700 crore in cash from the sale. The rest is the government’s debt, which Air India will take over.

Based on the bid results, the Centre will enter into a share purchase agreement (SPA) with Talace by December-end. The decision to enter into the SPA with the Tatas was taken by the empowered Air India Specific Alternative Mechanism, it was announced here by Divestment Secretary Tuhin Kanta Pandey.

The next step will be to issue the Letter of Intent (LoI) and then sign the share purchase agreement following which the conditions precedent would need to be satisfied by the successful bidder, the company and government.


NT Bureau