The loss-making Air India Ltd., once the pride of India’ air travel ambitions, is now all set to be taken over by Tata Sons Pvt. Ltd. is a historic deal.

The proposal of Tata Sons has been accepted by a panel of ministers to take over Air India. The deal has been in the making for decades and Tatas have reportedly submitted a bid higher than SpiceJet. A formal announcement is expected soon.

According to sources at the Ministry of Civil Aviation, “The Tatas have placed the highest bid for Air India," and an official decision on the government’s handover to the new owners will be completed by December.

This history of the Tata group with this airline dates back to 1932 with Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy (JRD) founding the airlines, then called Tata Airlines, with a small investment of Rs 2 lakh given by a hesitant Sir Dorabji Tata who was the Chairman of Tata Sons. JRD went on to become the pilot for the airline's maiden flight that propelled the future of Indian aviation.

This handover is a victory milestone for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government with its privatization plan to reduce the budget deficit. This move also successfully ends a years-long struggle by multiple governments to sell off the money bleeding airline either due to a lack of interested buyers or political opposition.

In 2007, Air India was merged with state-owned Indian Airlines and this move resulted in incurring huge losses. In 2013, the Civil Aviation Ministry expressed that the key to its survival was privatisation.

Air India currently has a debt of rupees 600 billion but at the same time, its assets are notable. The landing and parking slots at London’s Heathrow airport will help bring in business travellers with direct flights to Europe.

With criticism for not being able to manage its current aviation business, the Tata Group will be under scanner for its effective handling.

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