MUMBAI : Tata Group chairman emeritus Ratan N Tata on Friday welcomed back his treasured Air India to the salt-to-software conglomerate after 68 years as the Union government announced the company as winning bidder for the debt-laden state-owned airline.
“Welcome back, Air India,” wrote the 83-year-old renowned industrialist moments after the official announcement was made.
He said the airlines’ founder JRD Tata would have been overjoyed had he been alive as under his leadership Air India had gained the reputation of being one of the best airlines in the world.
Tata also thanked the Central government for its recent policy of opening up select industries to the private sector.
In a statement that he shared along with the tweet, the former chairman of the group said that while admittedly it would take considerable effort to rebuild Air India, it would hopefully provide a very strong market opportunity to the Tata Group’s presence in the aviation industry.
“On an emotional note, Air India, under the leadership of Mr JRD Tata, had at one time, gained the reputation of being one of the most prestigious airlines in the world. Tatas will have the opportunity of regaining the image and reputation enjoyed in earlier years. Mr JRD Tata would have been overjoyed if he was in our midst today,” he wrote.
“We also need to recognize and thank the government for its recent policy of opening select industries to the private sector,” Tata added.
With this, the troubled airline would go back to the Tatas which had founded it in 1932 as Tata Airlines in 1932 before being nationalised in 1953.
The Tatas won the bid at ₹18,000 crore, said DIPAM secretary Tuhin Kant Pandey.
“The total debt on Air India as of August 31, 2021, is ₹61,562 crore,” Pandey further said.
The Tata Group currently operates Vistara, India’s only other full-service carrier, in a venture with Singapore Airlines as well as budget airline AirAsia India, a venture with Malaysia’s AirAsia Group.