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Air India Divestment: As Maharaja Returns to Tata Cockpit, Here’s a Timeline of Major Events

Air India Divestment: The Tata Group is set to formally acquire Air India on January 27, Thursday. This will be done when the divestment process is completed on the day, as indicated in an earlier letter. This will mark the return of Maharaja to its Bombay House after decades, as the country watches the erstwhile national carrier head back home.

According to media reports, authorities at Air India had in a letter on Monday confirmed the divestment date.

“Air India disinvestment has been decided to take place on January 27 2022. Closing balance sheet on January 20 is to be provided today, January 24 so that it can be reviewed by Tata & any changes can be made on Wednesday,” said Vinod Hejmadi, Director Finance, Air India in an email to employees, as per a tweet by news agency ANI.

Here is a Timeline of How Air India was Privatised After Two Decades

October 15, 1932: Air India, formerly called Tata Airlines, inaugurated its services. The first carrier flew on Karachi-Ahmedabad-Bombay route on a de Havilland Puss Moth aircraft that JRD Tata himself operated.

August 1946: Tata Airlines formally gets converted into a public limited company, as a part of this change was renamed as Air India.

March 8, 1948: The government of independent India buys 49 per cent stake at Air India and the company again goes through a name change — this time becoming Air India International. Domestic flights still go by the former name.

March 1953: Air Corporations Act passed by the Parliament to amalgamate all scheduled airlines to form Indian Airlines and Air-India International. The government has majority stake at two aviation companies.

August 1953: Domestic business of Air India transferred to Indian Airlines.

1978: The Moraji Desai government asks Chairman JRD Tata to resign from his post at Air India and Indian Airlines following an air crash that killed 213 people off the coast of Bombay.

April 1980:  Indira Gandhi government appoints JRD Tata to the board of the airlines but loses his chairmanship.

2001: Tata Sons, run by JRD’s successor Ratan Tata, bids for 40 per cent stake at Air India along with Singapore Airlines. This is considered as the first attempt of the government for divestment but Singapore Airlines steps back.

2007-2012: The Manmohan Singh government merges Air India with Indian Airlines in 2007 and five years later gives nod to restructuring plans of the national carrier. By now, Air India has suffered losses of Rs 20,000 crore and has a debt of Rs 43,000 crore.

2018: Narendra Modi government launches fresh divestment plans to sell 76 per cent shares of the airlines but does not receive a single bid.

2020: Third attempt at divesting Air India is made by the government. This time, Narendra Modi government wants to sell 100 per cent of the debt-laden carrier.

September 2021: SpiceJet promoter Ajay Singh places bid for Air India, and so does Tata Sons which originally owned the carrier

October 8, 2021: Government announces that Tata Sons has won the bid to acquire Air India by placing a bid of Rs 18,0000 crore.

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Source: News18