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“Excited To Have Air India Back”: The Maharaja Returns To Tata Group After 69 Years

A formal announcement from the Tata Group regarding the official handover process will be made too.

New Delhi: After 69 years of its nationalisation Air India on Thursday formally became part of Tata Group, its founder. Government formally handed over the airline to Tata Group at a ceremony held in the national capital. Tata Group Chairman N Chandrasekhar, who was in Delhi to witness the formal transfer, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi before the handover.

“The Air India strategic disinvestment transaction has been completed today with Government receiving a consideration of Rs 2,700 crore from the Strategic Partner (M/s Talace Pvt Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of M/s Tata Sons Pvt Ltd), retaining debt of Rs 15,300 crore in Air India and AIXL and transferring shares of Air India (100 per cent shares of Air India and its subsidiary AIXL and 50 per cent shares of AISATS) to the Strategic Partner,” the Finance Ministry said in a statement.

In a separate statement, Tata Group said it has taken over management and control of the airline from today. 

 “Tata Group takes over management and control of the airline, starting today,” the statement said. 

Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran along with other senior officials of the company attended the handing over ceremony.

Tata Group Chairman N Chandrasekhar along with others after Air India takeover. (Image: Twitter/ANI)

Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) Secretary  Tuhin Kanta Pandey said all the disinvestment formalities have been completed and shares of Air India have been transferred to Tata Group.

“As we speak they (Tata Group) are the new owners,” Pandey told reporters. “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,” Chandrasekaran said in a statement. 

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The Tata Group would like to acknowledge Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment to reforms and faith in India’s entrepreneurship spirit, which made this historic transition possible. Our Prime Minister has in action demonstrated what his commitment to ‘Minimum Government, Maximum Governance’ means, Tata Sons statement said.

“We philosophically agree with the Prime Minister’s vision for the aviation sector, of making it affordable and ensuring it contributes to boosting ‘Ease of Living’ for citizens,” it added. 

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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Last year, Talace Pvt Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tata Sons Pvt Ltd, won the bid to acquire 100 per cent equity shareholding of Government of India in Air India along with equity shareholding of Air India in AIXL and Air India SATS Airport Services Private Limited for Rs 18,000 crore.

“It is pertinent to mention that following the Government’s approval of the highest price bid of M/s Talace Pvt Ltd for strategic disinvestment of Air India, the Letter of Intent was issued to the winning bidder on  October 11, 2021. The Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) was signed on October 25, 2021,” the Finance Ministry statement said.

“Thereafter, Strategic Partner (M/s Talace Pvt Ltd), Air India and the Government worked towards satisfying a set of conditions precedent defined in the SPA including approvals from anti-trust bodies, regulators, lenders, third parties, etc. These conditions have since been met to mutual satisfaction,” the Ministry added.