Tatas eyeing stake in Air India

Paterniano Del Favero
Giugno 22, 2017

On Wednesday, a TV news channel report said that Tata Group, in partnership with Singapore Airlines, could be looking at buying the carrier.

The development comes amid talks about privatisation of the national carrier.

Air India is staying afloat on taxpayers' money and the government is looking at all options for its revival, including privatisation.

According to the report, Tata Group chairman N Chandrasekaran has held informal talks with the PM Narendra Modi government in this regard.

If everything works properly then Tata Group will buy 51% of the Air India stake while the remaining owned by Singapore Airlines. "We do not comment on such matters", a spokesperson at Tata Group said in an emailed statement.

One scenario being discussed is that the government would retain 51 per cent stake and the rest 49 per cent could be sold to private players, which could include foreign players.

The government is taking interests in privatizing the beleaguered airline which has been in the loss for a decade.

Just about four years ago in 2013, the Tatas had indicated that they could consider investing in Air India in case it is privatised in the years to come.

Air India's original avatar was as Tata Airline which was launched in 1932 by Tata Group patriarch JRD Tata.

Statistics released by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) show that there has been a marked rise of almost 17.3 percent in the number of passengers flying on domestic routes, with the biggest carriers in terms of passengers being Indigo, followed by Jet Airways, Air India, SpiceJet and GoAir. Later, it was nationalised.

Sources had said finance minister Arun Jaitley is expected to take a final view on how much of the debt, the government will shoulder by waiving it off. It has partnered with Singapore Airlines in Vistara and with Malaysia-based low cost carrier AirAsia in AirAsia India.

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