Tatas Find Back Their Lost Child: Air India
Businessworld|October 31, 2021
‘Always aim at perfection for only then will you achieve excellence!’ — JRD TaTa
Sudhir Mishra & Simran Gupta

IN A STRANGE REVERSAL OF HISTORY, after 68 years the Tata Group has now taken back their airline, Air India which was founded in 1932 by the legendary industrialist and philanthropist JRD Tata.

Air India, formerly known as Tata Airlines and Tata Air Services, is today the country’s third largest airline with a domestic share of about 10 per cent. However, it has been suffering continuous losses for a long time now. It has been surviving on a debt from taxpayers for the last decade and the accumulated losses of the airline as of March-end 2021 was reported as Rs 70,820 crores.

However, this was not the case at the time when it was founded. According to news reports, during his ownership, J. R. D. Tata used to often fly as a passenger himself and note tiny details that had to be fixed. He set high benchmarks by focusing on micro details like the dress and hairstyle of the air hostesses, the inside décor, the quality of wine poured, as well as the availability of toilet paper at the lavatories on board. His hands-on-leadership proved profitable for Air India and made it a huge success in a short span of time.

After Independence, although the Tatas insisted that nationalisation would mean bureaucracy, lethargy, decline in employee morale and fall in passenger services, the government still took over the airline in 1953 on the passing of the Air Corporations Act.

Air Tragedy of 1978

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