TATA GROUP RIDING THE AMBITIOUS AVIATION ARC
SP's Airbuz|February - March 2021
Having raised its stake in AirAsia India, alongside operating Vistara, Tata Group is a strong bidder for Air India too
AYUSHEE CHAUDHARY

As the entire aviation industry grapples with uncertainty and hopes for recovery, the Indian aviation industry seems to be preparing for a distinct ride. Where on one hand we have airlines coping with sustaining themselves, the Tata group appears to be on an ambitious arc to ace the aviation sector in the nation. In one of its recent report, aviation consultancy firm, Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) India highlighted some trends that the Indian aviation industry is likely to witness. One of the important points put forth by CAPA India was that the Indian airlines industry is heading towards consolidation and it could result in a 2-3 airline system in the near to medium term.

At present, the Tata group indeed presents a likely evidence for this prediction by CAPA. Tata Sons had recently marked this New Year with a raise in its stake in AirAsia India. Tata Group had increased its holding in the India-based joint venture with AirAsia that started in 2014, to about 84 per cent from 51 per cent, having bought an additional 32.67 per cent stake from AirAsia Berhad at about ₹276.69 crore. The Tatas also possess a call option of buying out the remaining 16.33 per cent, under the share-purchase pact. Currently, Tata already operates the Vistara airline in partnership with Singapore Airlines owning a 51 per cent stake in the full service carrier. In addition to these, Tata Sons is reportedly a serious contender for the national carrier Air India. The winning bidder for Air India will also acquire its profit-making and low-cost subsidiary, Air India Express.

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