Tata Sons has submitted a bid to acquire state-owned carrier Air India, PTI reported on Wednesday, citing an unidentified spokesperson of the conglomerate.
If Tata Sons bid is successful, its will mark the return of Air India to the conglomerate’s fold after 67 years. The Tata Group founded Air India as Tata Airlines in October 1932. It was nationalised by the government in 1953.
Reports said that the founder of private airline SpiceJet, Ajay Singh, has also submitted a bid. However, Singh did not respond to messages from PTI seeking confirmation on the matter.
The Union finance ministry’s Department of Investment and Public Asset Management confirmed it had received financial bids for disinvestment of the loss-making national carrier.
“Process now moves to concluding stage,” the department’s secretary said in a tweet. However, the official did not give details about the bids or the number of companies who are in fray.
The government is seeking to sell its 100% stake in Air India. The disinvestment process was supposed to begin in January last year, was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In March this year, the then Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had said that Air India had accumulated a debt of Rs 60,000 crore and the choice was between disinvesting the airline or shutting it down. In April, the government asked potential bidders to put in financial bids. Wednesday was the last day for submitting the bids.
Last month, Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia had said that the disinvestment process of Air India was on “right track”. “For this the financial bids should come in by September 15 and after that the next move would be initiated,” he had told reporters.