Tatas may look at bidding for Air India even as its two airlines strap on losses

IANS
  • Tata Group Chairman N Chandrasekaran said he will get his team to evaluate a bid for Air India.
  • The once-Tata owned Air India today has a massive debt of ₹58,351 crore.
  • Meanwhile, both of Tata’s current airlines – Vistara and AirAsia – reported losses for FY19.
One of India’s biggest business conglomerate Tata Group might consider bidding for the struggling Air India. In an interview with TOI, Tata Group Chairman N Chandrasekaran said that he will get his team to look into the matter.

“Ideally it should be a Vistara decision, not a Tata Sons decision. I’m not going to run a third airline (in addition to Vistara and AirAsia) unless we merge. There are issues. I will never say yes or no. I don’t know,” he told TOI.

Interestingly, Air India was run by the Tata Group before the Indian government acquired a 49% stake in the airline in 1948.

Tata Group to bid on Air India would expand its exposure to the airline industry. Two of its own airlines – Vistara and AirAsia are running in losses.

In the financial year ending March 2019, Vistara’s losses doubled to ₹831 crore. Vistara is a joint venture between the Tata group and Singapore Airlines.

Meanwhile, Air Asia too is struggling to keep up. Its losses amounted to ₹670 crore, almost five times over its losses in the previous year of ₹125 crore. Tata Group runs AirAsia India in a joint venture with Malaysia-based AirAsia Berhad.

For FY19, Air India too posted a massive operating loss of ₹4,600 crore, while its net loss stood at ₹8,400 crore.

Air India, which has been struggling to find a bidder after the government said that it plans to sell 100% stake in it. It has a massive debt of ₹58,351 crore and recently state-owned oil companies sent a letter asking them to pay up dues or they will stop supplying aviation turbine fuel (ATF).
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