I will ask my team to analyze the offers for AI: head of the Tata Group

MUMBAI: The Tata Group may consider bidding for Air India, an airline it once had, each time the government finishes selling the national airline.

The government is considering leaving Air India instead of its previous plan to retain a minority stake in the carrier.

In 2018, when the government planned to sell 76% of the stake in Air India, Tata showed no interest in the state operator, as the terms were burdensome and the conglomerate was evaluating the purchase of Jet airways .

Now, Tata wants to at least look at Air India, as it could help the conglomerate expand its game in the aviation business. Tata has two joint ventures, one with Singapore Airlines (SIA) operating Vistara , and a second with the economic airline Air Asia, both boards lost more than Rs 1,500 million in fiscal year 2019.

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“I will ask my team to look at it (when the AI ​​bid documents are out),” said N Chandrasekaran, chairman of Tata Group. “Ideally, it is a Vistara decision. It is not a Tata Sons decision. I'm not going to run a third airline. Unless and otherwise we merge. There are issues. I will never say yes or no. I don't know.

“I will have to find a solution for our aviation business. I want to expand it, but I also know that the business is likely to have losses until 2025, ”added Chandrasekaran.

Sources said that unlike Jet airways , Air India is likely to enthuse Ratan Tata As the conglomerate would like to have a carrier that the group founded in 1932.

Ratan Tata was said to be not keen on Jet airways as its founder Naresh Goyal He had launched an underground campaign against the conglomerate's attempts to re-enter aviation in partnership with SIA in the 1990s and early 2000s.

It was only in 2013 that the Tata enterprise, which owned Air India till it was nationalized in 1953, was finally back in Indian skies, with an SIA joint venture for full-service Vistara, and another with Air Asia for a budget carrier.

The sources added that the acceptance of Tata-SIA as a buyer of Air India would be greater compared to other bidders such as Middle Eastern operators, since it will be ghar wapsi (back home) for Air India.

Air India will help Vistara grow internationally. Currently, Vistara flies to just four international Destinations. Air India will also augment Vistara’s domestic market share, which presently stands at 6%. Air India has a 12% share of the local aviation market.