It is getting louder that the Tata Group could be in the cockpit of Air India as early as the New Year if it is the only eligible bidder for India’s national airline.
The deadline for the final submission of the bids for Air India is August 31 and as of now, Tata Group seems to be the only interested party.
If the Tata bid is submitted on or before the final submission deadline of August 31, and as it currently stands, Tata will likely be the only eligible bidder.
If the Tata offer is accepted, the 90 day handover period begins and ends by November 30th or December 31st at the latest. So one possible scenario is for Tata to take control of Air India by January 1st, 2021.
An IANS request sent to Tata Sons went unanswered.
While the other bidders are not yet known worldwide, the airlines are exposed to severe stress due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting disruption to air traffic and tourism.
It is widely believed that Tata is the sole bidder for Air India and the salt-to-software conglomerate is expected to submit a bid that the government has repeatedly announced before August 31, the final date for bids for Air India has that it will not be extended.
Tata group already has an airline company in Vistara and it is not yet clear how or if it will consolidate airline companies such as Vistara, Air Asia and the possible takeover of Air India.
The Tata Group has reportedly already started due diligence and is expected to make a formal offer soon.
Air India’s Topsy-Turvy Journey!
India’s national carrier was actually founded by J. R. D. Tata of Tata Sons, an Indian aviator, and business tycoon, and operated as Tata Airlines till 1946.
After World War II, regular commercial service was restored in India and the airline became a public limited company and was renamed to Air India.
After facing humongous losses in 2018, the national airline was put on sale which failed and the government abandoned the sale altogether.
In late-2019, the Government announced the re-attempt of the sale of 100% stakes of Air India to private organizations by March 2020.
Air India went through a critical financial situation long before the Covid-19 attack. The crippling effects of the pandemic, particularly in the aviation sector, have placed finances further in a precarious position.
Recently, its pilots and other staff were on the warpath when Air India laid off staff and launched a Leave Without Pay (LWP) program.
From Tata Airlines to Air India to Vistara and AirAsia India, the Tata Group has been an important part of the growing aviation sector in India.