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Air India’s journey comes full circle as Tata Group takes control of the airline again after nearly 7 decades

Yesterday on 27th January 2022, Air India’s journey came full circle as the Tata Group took over the control of the airline again after nearly 7 decades. Air India is now a private enterprise with the Tata Group as its new owner.

Air India has again become a private airline after nearly 7 decades of government ownership. Natarajan Chandrasekaran, Chairman of Tata Sons, met with government officials yesterday to close the deal. Yesterday, the government of India transferred 100% shares in Air India to Talace Private Limited, Tata’s fully owned subsidiary.

Tatas now have the full ownership of Air India and Air India Express and a 50% stake in ground handler AI-SATS.

In October last year, the Tatas won the bid to acquire the debt-laden Air India with an offering of ₹18,000 crore. As decided, ₹2,700 crore was paid upfront in cash, and ₹15,300 crore taken over as debt.

The Tatas already run the full service carrier Vistara in partnership with Singapore Airlines and Air Asia India in partnership with the Air Asia group. With the ownership of Air India and Air India Express, the Tatas now own 4 airlines.

Following the closing of deal, N Chandrasekaran issued a formal statement, which states:

We are excited to have Air India back in the Tata Group and are committed to making this a world-class airline. I warmly welcome all the employees of Air India to our Group and look forward to working together.

The Tata Group in a statement said:

The Tata Group today announced the completion of the transaction for purchase of Air India from the Government of India. The Tata Group takes over management and control of the airline, starting today.

The transaction covers three entities – Air India, Air India Express and AI SATS. Air India is India’s flag carrier and premier full service airline. Air India Express is a low-cost carrier. AI SATS provides a comprehensive suite of ground handling and cargo handling services.

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An email was sent out to all Air India employees by the Group Chairman as well.

Some minor changes are already being made at the airline. The cabin crew have been told to dress “smartly” and maintain weight within strict BMI parameters. On-time performance is also being stressed, with the crew being asked to close aircraft doors 10 minutes before departure.

With the Tatas at the helm of Air India now, naturally, one expects that the airline will now improve gradually, both financially and customer experience wise.

“Enhanced” meal service is already being provided to passengers on select flights as of yesterday. The enhanced meal service will be expanded to passengers in all Air India flights in a phased manner.

The employees have been told by the Tata Group that there will be a change in “image, attitude and perception” of Air India, they said. Cabin crew members have been instructed to address all passengers as “guests” and cabin crew supervisor will have to ensure safety and service standards provided to the guests.

Featured image by JetPhotos

What do you think of Air India’s future? Do you think that the Tatas, with their experience in the airline industry, will be able to turn Air India into a better and a profitable airline? Let me know in the comments section below.

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