The Air India disinvestment plan has entered the final phase, with Tata Sons and SpiceJet promoter Ajay Singh submitting their final bids to acquire the debt-laden national airline.
Tata Sons is the holding company of the Indian multinational conglomerate Tata Group.
The sale includes Air India’s 100% stake in AI Express and 50% in Air India SATS Airport Services.
The financial bids for Air India disinvestment were officially received by the transaction adviser and will be evaluated against an undisclosed reserve price.
The highest bid above that benchmark will be accepted and sent for approval by the Indian Government.
The successful bidder will have access to 4,400 domestic and 1,800 international landing and parking slots at local airports and 900 slots at airports internationally.
Last January, the government of India initiated the Air India disinvestment process, by inviting expressions of interest for the acquisition of a 100% stake in the loss-making airline.
Although the government made some changes to the bid conditions over time, the process was delayed with the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic across the country.
In April, the government finalised interested bidders and asked them to submit their final bid.
Air India was founded by Tata Group in 1932 and later nationalised in 1953.
It was merged with domestic operator Indian Airlines in 2007, and since that time, the company is said to have been reeling under losses.
Tata Group reportedly made several attempts to acquire Air India.
If Tata Sons’ bid is superior, then Air India will again be part of Tata Group after a span of more than six decades.
Currently, Tata operates Vistara, a full-service carrier in partnership with Singapore Airlines.