After 69 years, Air India was officially handed over to the Tata Group on Thursday, as a part of the Narendra-Modi government’s successful privatisation plan. The development came shortly after Tata Sons chairman Natarajan Chandrasekaran called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
With Air India returning to the Tata fold, it becomes the third airline brand in the company’s stable. The company already has a majority interest in AirAsia India and Vistara, a joint venture with Singapore Airlines Ltd.
As part of the deal, the Tata Group will also be given over Air India Express and a 50% stake in ground handling arm Air India SATS.
“Your arrival was much awaited,” tweeted the Tata Group soon after the handover.
“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,” Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran said in a statement.
In October last year, the Centre announced the Tata Group as the winning bidder in Air India’s disinvestment process.
Tata Group had set up Tata Airlines in 1932, which was later renamed Air India. The Centre had taken control of the airline in 1953, but JRD Tata continued to be its chairman till 1977.