Air India is flying back to India. On January 27, 2022, the loss-making airline will be formally taken over by conglomerate Tata Group.
Reporters captured Tata Sons chairman Natarajan Chandrasekaran entering Airlines House, where he was hailed by Air India chairman and managing director CMD Vikram Dev Dutt for the official handover.
Prior to the official handover, Chandrasekaran met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The official takeover ushers in a new era for Air India. The flag carrier’s rebuilding will take a “great effort,” according to Tata Sons.
The Tata company is no stranger to airlines, with a 51 percent investment in Vistara (SIA1) (SINGY) and an 83.67 percent holding in AirAsia India.
Tata Airlines was formed in 1932 by Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata. After India got independence in 1948, the airline was renamed Air India and later nationalized.
The Indian government had been trying to sell Air India for years, with the first offer in 2017 failing to attract interest and the second attempt in 2020 being thwarted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Finally, Tata Sons’ $2.4 billion bid was revealed as the winning bid in October 2021, beating out a rival offer from Ajay Singh, the founder of Indian airline SpiceJet.
— CNBC-TV18 (@CNBCTV18Live) January 27, 2022
The year 2022 is shaping up to be a pivotal one for Indian aviation. Along with new owners at Air India, it will also see the start of Akaza Airlines, an ultra-low-cost carrier that wants to fly the Boeing 737 MAX.
In addition, Hans Airways and Flypop, two new UK airlines, want to start flying between minor cities in the UK and India.