Air India’s history as Tata pours in money to revive the airline

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CHENNAI — Air India is carving out an

ambitious renaissance under the Tata Group conglomerate, which

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regained control earlier this year after the airline was

nationalized nearly seven decades ago.

The airline is close to placing landmark orders for as many

as 500 jetliners potentially worth over $100 billion at list

prices from both Airbus and Boeing, Reuters

reported over the weekend, citing industry sources.

The report came days after Tata announced the merger of Air

India with Vistara, a joint venture with Singapore Airlines, to

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cement itself as the country’s largest international carrier and

second largest in the domestic market after IndiGo.

The merged Air India entity will have 218 planes and fly to

52 domestic and 38 international destinations.

Here is Air India’s timeline that includes financial

troubles, reputation drop and Tata’s plans to restore it.

Year Event

1932 Entrepreneur J.R.D Tata, the first Indian to

receive a commercial pilot’s license, forms the

airline, India’s first.

1946 Tata Airlines is converted into a public entity and

renamed Air-India. The Maharajah mascot also makes

his first appearance.

1953 Air India is nationalized and splits into a

domestic airline and an international carrier.

April 2005 Air India launches low-cost carrier Air India

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April National carriers Air India and Indian Airlines are

2007* merged into a single airline

July 2009 The airline appoints State Bank of India

to prepare a roadmap for recovery after years of

losses under state control and emergence of new


April 2012 India approves a $5.8 billion bailout for Air

India, which was to be received by 2020

March 2018 India plans to sell a controlling stake, along with

roughly $5.1 billion of the carrier’s debt

June 2018 India shelves a plan to sell a 76% stake due to

lack of interest from bidders

December India decides to sell 100% of its stake after

2019 failing to find takers for its offer of 76% and

full debt

October The government gets two bids after extending the

2020 deadline several times

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September India’s finance ministry says Air India has

2021 received financial bids from Tata Sons and Ajay

Singh, promoter of budget airline SpiceJet

October India government announces Tata Sons as the winning

2021 bidder for its 100% stake in Air India, after the

conglomerate bid 180 billion Indian rupees ($2.18


January Tata regains control of Air India


April 2022 Air India proposes to buy the entire equity share

capital of low cost carrier AirAsia India, which

Tata has a majority stake in and operates with

Malaysia’s AirAsia X Bhd

May 2022 Tata announces appointment of Campbell Wilson, the

head of Singapore Airlines’ budget carrier Scoot,

as Air India’s CEO, weeks after appointing N.

Chandrasekaran as chairman.

October Singapore Airlines says it is in talks with Tata

2022 about a potential merger of Vistara, their joint

venture airline, with Air India

November AirAsia sells its stake in AirAsia India to Air

2022 India

November Tata says it is merging Air India with Vistara, its

2022 joint venture with Singapore Airlines, with Tata

holding 74.9% of the combined entity and the latter

owning the rest

*sourced from Britannica

($1 = 82.5650 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Praveen Paramasivam in Chennai and Nandan

Mandayam in Bengaluru; editing by David Evans)



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