Air India Returns to Tata: The Tata Group is all set to officially bring back Air India, the civil airlines company it established in 1932, to the Bombay House on Thursday. The divestment process of Air India was officially announced on Thursday, January 27, with Tata Sons chairperson N. Chandrasekaran meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi to complete the process.
Following the announcement, Chandrasekaran said, “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 divestment process comes months after the Tata Group acquired Air India by placing a bid of Rs 18,000 crore after the government sought to sell 100 per cent stake of the erstwhile national carrier.
In October last year, the Talace Private Limited, a subsidiary of the Tata Group’s holding company, won a bid to take over a debt-ridden Maharaja, which in turn kicked off the government’s mega privatisation programme.
The Tatas have grand plans to take its beloved company back home. The business conglomerate is likely to introduce “enhanced meal service” on four flights that will operate from Mumbai, said officials in the know. These are AI864 (Mumbai-Delhi), AI687 (Mumbai-Delhi), AI945 (Mumbai-Abu Dhabi) and AI639 (Mumbai-Bengaluru). Reports also suggested that the cabin crew has been asked to stay groomed ahead of the takeover and a voice message of new owner Ratan Tata will be played as the flights take off.
What Will Happen to Air India Employees Once The Tatas Take Over
While many of the operating procedures will undergo a change when the Tata Group takes over Air India, the 10,000 employees at the airlines are likely to see a change as well.
In December last year, Union minister of state for finance Dr Bhagwat Kisanrao Karad said that Air India employees cannot be fired within one year of the takeover. “Employees cannot be retrenched for a period of one year from the closing date and will be eligible for voluntary retirement scheme with maximum benefits in case of retrenchment in the second year from closing,” he said.
The employees will also be eligible for other benefits like gratuity, provident fund benefits, passage rights, in accordance with applicable law/ industry practice. They will be allowed to stay in the residential colonies for a six-month period from closing. Additionally, existing employees will be provided with medical benefits by the Tata Group, the minister said.
“Government has the obligation to provide medical facilities to all retired employees (as on closing date) and eligible existing employees (who have attained 55 years of age or above or have completed 20 years of service) and their spouses, post retirement,” said Karad.
Apart from this, employees have been brought under the EPF scheme by the Centre. Till then, the employees were contributing provident funds to AIEPF (Air India Employees Provident Fund) and IAEPF (Indian Airlines Employees Provident Fund), as per a report by The Hindu BusinessLine.
Retired employees of Air India, which is around 50,000 at the moment, will be eligible for health cover as per earlier rules, according to another report. “Retired employees will get CGHS facility for their OPD requirement and National Health Insurance Scheme for their hospitalisation requirements,” a top government official told Economic Times.
Earlier this week, pilots working with Air India sent a letter to the company to correct multiple deductions and recoveries that have been projected, according to a report by Moneycontrol.