New Delhi: Tata Sons, the principal investment holding company of Tata groups is likely to get a nod from the government over matters related to the Air India disinvestment process. Jitender Bhargava, the former Air India Director in an interview with Bloomberg on Wednesday said that the Tata Group has the funds and reserves to revive it.
“Tatas have been very, very passionate about Air India,” Bhargava said. “J.R.D. Tata on record has said that this is his only creation, rest of the Tata companies came to him and he was only managing them. So there was a lot of passion, lot of emotional connection between Tatas and Air India, and that has made them bid for it,” he added.
The investment holding company Tata Sons, which possesses a major stake in AirAsia India had earlier this month submitted a bid for the Air India. While Spice Jet Limited owner Ajay Singh too has joined the race. A recommendation is likely to roll this week as to who will be the victor in the race.
The flag carrier airline of India was established in the year 1932 by the philanthropist, aviator, and industrialist J R D Tata. The Air India airline was even known as Tata Airlines. Entrepreneur JRD Tata was the country’s first licensed pilot.
Jitender Bhargava, the former Air India Director added that the government should not hope for a huge sum of money, and so the government should take a pragmatic view in selling the airline. “When the government acquired Air India, they gave Tatas a pittance. There’s no rationale for the government of India to start looking for huge sums of money as compensation,” he said.
He even predicted that the sale will inescapably meet with the political backlash. He further added that allegations such as that “the govt is selling the family silver, govt is selling it cheap” are likely to happen. He further added that any bidder who owns the airline will have to upgrade the airlines’ fleet.
“If you look at the last 18 years, they’ve put at the helm of Air India bureaucrats with virtually no knowledge of the aviation industry,” he said. “It was just a matter of keeping the airline going rather than ensuring that Air India is injected with new talent and the network is expanded. We have often said stagnancy is the first sign of decay.”
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