Several media reports claimed that Tata Sons has won the bid for Air India although the reports are said to be false as the Finance Ministry on Friday clarified that reports suggesting that Tata Sons has won the bid for Air India were not correct after it was reported that a panel of ministers accepted a proposal from officials which recommended Tata Sons, ahead of SpiceJet Limited promoter Ajay Singh’s bid.
“Media reports indicating approval of financial bids by Government of India in the AI disinvestment case are incorrect,” the ministry said in a tweet. “Media will be informed of the Government decision as and when it is taken,” it said.
Bloomberg News earlier reported that Tata Sons have won the deb-laden national carrier and with this Air India will be again flying under the Tata Group after a gap of 68 years.
The airline was founded in 1932 and the official name of the airline was Tata Airlines. In 1946, the aviation division of Tata Sons was listed as Air India and, in 1948, the Air India International was launched with flights to Europe. In 1953, Air India was nationalised.
The government is seeking to sell 100 per cent of Air India’s stake, the process of which began in January 2020. The process was paused owing to the pandemic and was revived again in April 2021. September 15 was the last day for putting in financial bids.
As per the Air India EoI, of the airline’s total debt of Rs 60,074 crore as of March 31, 2019, the buyer would be required to absorb Rs 23,286.5 crore. The rest would be transferred to Air India Assets Holding Ltd (AIAHL), a special purpose vehicle. Air India has been in losses ever since its merger with domestic operator Indian Airlines in 2007. The airline will give the successful bidder control of 4,400 domestic and 1,800 international landing and parking slots at domestic airports, as well as 900 slots at airports overseas.