Tata Group may buy stake in Air India

New Delhi: As per the speculations, Tata Group is looking for buying the stake in debt-laden Air-India with full or partial privatisation. When contacted, a Tata group spokesperson said, “We don’t comment on speculations.”

Air India is under the red banner, as Niti Aayog also suggested for its complete privatisation. Sources said Tata group is evaluating options for buying the stake in Air India.

There was no official word from the government but sources said the Civil Aviation Ministry is keen on retaining the national carrier status of Air India, Indian Express reported while quoting sources.

One scenario being discussed is that the government would retain 51 percent stake and the rest 49 percent could be sold to private players, which could include foreign players. Sources said in such a situation, the government would have majority stake but operational control would be with the minority stakeholder.

Air India traces its roots to Tata Airlines, which was formed back in 1932. Set up by Tatas, the carrier was made a public company as Air India. Later, it was nationalised.

Tatas had tried to acquire stake in Air India earlier as well. Currently, Air India has a debt of more than Rs 52,000 crore. Recently, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said the aviation ministry has to explore all possibilities “as to how the privatisation of Air India can be done”. Tatas already have two airline joint ventures — Vistara and AirAsia India.