Air India Divestment: The Tata Group has formally acquired Air India on January 27, Thursday. The official announcement came after Tata Sons chairperson N. Chandrasekaran met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the day to discuss the official processes.
“We are very happy to have Air India back in the #TataGroup. We look forward to working with everyone in creating a world class airline,” said Chandrasekaran after the official handover, according to CNBC TV18.
This marks the return of Maharaja to its Bombay House after decades, as the country watches the erstwhile national carrier head back home.
Here is a Timeline of How Air India was Privatised After Two Decades
October 15, 1932: Air India, formerly called Tata Airlines, inaugurated its services. The first carrier flew on Karachi-Ahmedabad-Bombay route on a de Havilland Puss Moth aircraft that JRD Tata himself operated.
August 1946: Tata Airlines formally gets converted into a public limited company, as a part of this change was renamed as Air India.
March 8, 1948: The government of independent India buys 49 per cent stake at Air India and the company again goes through a name change — this time becoming Air India International. Domestic flights still go by the former name.
March 1953: Air Corporations Act passed by the Parliament to amalgamate all scheduled airlines to form Indian Airlines and Air-India International. The government has majority stake at two aviation companies.
August 1953: Domestic business of Air India transferred to Indian Airlines.
1978: The Moraji Desai government asks Chairman JRD Tata to resign from his post at Air India and Indian Airlines following an air crash that killed 213 people off the coast of Bombay.
April 1980: Indira Gandhi government appoints JRD Tata to the board of the airlines but loses his chairmanship.
2001: Tata Sons, run by JRD’s successor Ratan Tata, bids for 40 per cent stake at Air India along with Singapore Airlines. This is considered as the first attempt of the government for divestment but Singapore Airlines steps back.
2007-2012: The Manmohan Singh government merges Air India with Indian Airlines in 2007 and five years later gives nod to restructuring plans of the national carrier. By now, Air India has suffered losses of Rs 20,000 crore and has a debt of Rs 43,000 crore.
2018: Narendra Modi government launches fresh divestment plans to sell 76 per cent shares of the airlines but does not receive a single bid.
2020: Third attempt at divesting Air India is made by the government. This time, Narendra Modi government wants to sell 100 per cent of the debt-laden carrier.
September 2021: SpiceJet promoter Ajay Singh places bid for Air India, and so does Tata Sons which originally owned the carrier
October 8, 2021: Government announces that Tata Sons has won the bid to acquire Air India by placing a bid of Rs 18,0000 crore.
January 27, 2022: Air India officially handed over by the central government to Tata Group. Maharaja comes back home.