Bloomberg News, citing unnamed sources, reported that Tata Sons has won the bid for the debt-ridden national carrier Air India, while the government has denied the report. If Tata gets the Air India deal, it could mark the carrier’s return to the group after 68 years.
Tata Sons has won the bid for the debt-ridden national carrier Air India, Bloomberg News reported on Friday morning, citing unnamed sources. The report claimed that a panel of ministers accepted the software group’s proposal with salt. However, the government has denied the media reports as false. “The media reports approving financial bids by the Government of India in the AI disinvestment case are incorrect. The media will be informed about the government’s decision when it is taken,” the DIPAM secretary tweeted on Friday.
The government had started evaluation bids for the Maharaja yesterday. Along with the Tata group, Ajay Singh of domestic carrier SpiceJet has also bid for the airline. Bids were evaluated on the basis of an undisclosed reserve price. If the Tata Group secures the deal for Air India, it would mark the airline’s return to Tata after a gap of 68 years.
The official announcement of the deal is expected in the coming days, the report said. Plans to sell the Maharaja have been going on for years, with several governments trying to find buyers for the money-starved airline. Air India is in debt of over Rs 60,000 crore. The debt-ridden carrier has a 127-aircraft strong fleet that controls 50.64% of the international market share when clubbed with AIXL among Indian carriers. Air India currently serves 42 international destinations.
The successful sale of Air India will also help the BJP-led NDA government move towards its disinvestment program, where it plans to privatize various state-owned properties in an attempt to bridge the budget deficit.
Air India was started by Tata in 1932 as Tata Airlines. It was sold by the group to the government in 1953.