Air India Acquired by Tata for Rs $2.4 Billion

Tata Sons Pvt. emerged as a winning bidder for India’s flag carrier, Air India, which was previously Tata Airlines in 1932; the bid was placed at ₹ 18,000 crore ($2.4 billion) as an enterprise value of the carrier.

The airline was established by illustrious industrialist and philanthropist, JRD Tata back in 1932, who was also the first licensed pilot in India. He himself flew the carrier’s first ever single-engine de Havilland Puss Moth, carrying airmail from Karachi in then-undivided British-ruled India to Bombay, now known as Mumbai and later continuing to Chennai. The carrier became a public limited company after World War II, and hence was renamed as Air India.

Tata Sons Pvt Ltd. has ended years of efforts to prioritize the delinquent and debt-ridden airline, putting an end to the tax-payer bailouts as well that superficially kept the company alive. The government intends to settle the complete the transaction by the end of 2021.

The acquisition of Air India has given Tata Sons has given a monumental access to over hundred planes, thousands of trained pilots, employees and crew, and remunerative landing and parking slots across the globe. Air India is the fourth airline brand that has been added to the glorious Tata Sons Portfolio, other three being Air India Express, Vistara and AirAsia India. Vistara, a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, and Air India are full-service carriers, and on the other hand, AirAsia India are low-cost carriers.

According to the Tuhin Kanta Pandey, the top bureaucrat at India's Department of Investment and Public Asset Management, the Tata Group is set to retain ₹ 15,300 crore of Air India's debt, and hence pay a handsome amount of ₹ 2,700 crore cash to the government. The deal does not include the acquisition of non-core assets of Air India such as land and buildings. Further, Tata sons will have to perpetuate all of Air India’s employees for a minimum period of oner year.

The cash-deficient airline’s total debt accounts to be about ₹ 61,560 crore as of August 31, and hence the amount not assimilated by Tata Sons will be taken over by the government.

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