Maharaja heads back home to the Tatas after 68 years

The Maharaja has come a full circle. Come January, Air India will be piloted by the Tata Group, again after 68 years, with the government deciding to sell the national carrier to Talace Private Limited, a special purpose vehicle of Tata Sons. The government had set the reserve price at 12,906 crore. While Tata Sons’ SPV bid 18,000 crore enterprise value, the second bid was for 15,100 crore. Established by legendary industrialist and philanthropist JRD Tata, who was India’s first licensed pilot, the airline originally flew mail in the 1930s between Karachi in then-undivided, British-ruled India and Bombay, now known as Mumbai. Back then, it was known as Tata Airlines. Post world war II, the airline was taken over by the government of India, and named ‘Air India’. The government aims to complete the transaction by the end of 2021.