Air India: Homecoming of the mighty bird

Air India: The airline formerly started by JRD Tata as Tata Airlines in 1932 has finally returned to the Tata conglomerate after a 68-year long journey. Tata sons subsidiary Talace Pvt. Ltd. Came out as a winning bidder for 100% stake in the debt-ridden airline for 18,000 crores.

JRD Tata started Tata Airlines in 1932 as a pioneer in the private sector. It was named Tata Air Services initially and renamed to Tata Airlines after a few years. Tata Airlines was esteemed to be one of the most prestigious airlines of that time, however, with the announcement of the Air Corporations Act, the airline was taken over by the government along with all the other private airlines. This was part of the nationalisation scheme and therefore the government took control over the private carrier and renamed it as Air India International. JRD Tata continued to be the chairman of the government owned carrier till 1977 even after nationalisation in 1953.

The nationalisation of the carrier came out as a huge mistake with massive losses. The exceptional operating system maintained by the Tata group was soon diminished by inefficient and corrupt public establishments. This resulted in deteriorated quality of service, underutilization, inefficient performance, and a fall in revenue. All of this resulted in heavy financial losses and the government soon became keen to get rid of the loss-making airline.

Tata sons’ subsidiary Talace Pvt. Ltd. outshined as the winning bidder leaving behind a consortium led by SpiceJet promoter Ajay Singh. The airline has completed a full circle by coming to the place where it originated. Tata sons’ chairman Natarajan Chandrasekaran announced the ‘homecoming’ of the mighty bird. He said that it marks the start of a new chapter and that it is time to look forward and take the new path immediately. The homecoming of Air India, the mighty bird, is a chapter that embodies the resilience of an airline that has stood the test of time. From its modest beginnings to its global reach, Air India's journey mirrors the evolution of the aviation industry itself.

Tata group has to now focus on restructuring the airline to make it more efficient and retain the cultural and social legacy. While the process is going to be tedious, there are factors that will help to expedite the process. Air India already has a well-developed infrastructure and fully qualified human resource force. In addition to 900 slots abroad, Air India also owns and controls about 4,400 domestic and 1,800 international parking and landing slots at domestic airports. Tatas will receive the airline's 141 aircraft as part of the sale, including 42 leased aircraft and 99 owned aircraft. Additionally, they receive 50% of the ground handling division Air India SATS as well as Air India Express.

The national carrier's transition from the public to the private sector will surely be an exceedingly difficult operation that is infinitely complex. However, the Tata Group has the capacity, knowledge, and expertise necessary to manage the process and complete the transformation in the required time period with optimum efficiency.

About the author,

    Prachi Mehta

An outgoing introvert who believes in the art of articulation, voracious to learn and explore the world. Solemn by face, a foodie by heart and a dreamer by grace. Worked as a freelance digital marketer leading social media engagement and marketing campaigns for diversified domains.

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