The TATA saga will immensely benefit Air India and it will also give a facelift to its image internationally.
Air India is back to its creators or should I say its birthplace. The Airline was started by JRD Tata who nurtured it and grew it to become one of the top Airlines in the world. It reached its zenith of glory in the fifties when punctuality was the Holy Grail for the Airline and people used to time their watches with the flights of the airline.
89 years ago, JRD Tata started the airline with a capital of 2 lakhs. He nurtured the fledgling airline and soon it became one of the prestigious airlines in the world. After independence, the airline further consolidated its gains until 1953 when Jawaharlal Nehru and his socialist ideals led to the nationalization of the airline. JRD Tata and Nehru were best friends but differed in their perceptions when it came to the economy.
Janata Party Govt’s Witch Hunt For Congress
JRD Tata remained Chairman of Air India until 1977 when he was unceremoniously dumped by the Janata Party’s Morarji Desai led government. The Janata Party was on a witch hunt for anything related to Congress.
On January 1, 1978, Air India 747, Emperor Asoka crashed into the Arabian Sea killing all its 213 occupants. The GOI was looking for a scapegoat and the cudgel fell on JRD Tata. Indira Gandhi who was out of power added her weight behind JRD Tata. When Indira Gandhi returned to power, she again reinstated him as the Chairman of Air India.
The Downfall Of Air India
The downfall of Air India started in 2007 when it was merged with Indian Airlines. The Airline continued to remain in red The Government pumped in 1.10 lakh crores of rupees but could not take it out of the red. The government then decided to sell 24% shares. In 2021, the government offered to sell 100% of its shares in the airline and Tata group came forward and agreed to take over the ailing airlines for 18,000 crores.
Ratan Tata expressed his happiness over social media and said, “Welcome back, Air India 🛬🏠”
In the process, Tata will acquire 117 big and small aircraft of Air India. It will also get 24 aircraft which are with Air India Express. Tata will also inherit 1800 international and 4,400 domestic landing and parking slots. The slots also include premium airports like Heathrow and Dubai.
Employee Interests And Facelift Amid The TATA Saga
The interests of the employees will also be taken care of. At present, Air India has 12,085 employees. It includes 8,084 permanent and 4001, on contracts. In the first year, no employees will be retrenched. In the forthcoming years, VRS will be offered. The dues of 1,332 crores of the employees will be paid by the government. However, the strings are already being tightened and free rides for government officials will not be entertained anymore.
The TATA saga will immensely benefit the airline and it will also give a facelift to its image internationally. Air India under The Tata Group will take the message of a changing India to the world. The biggest challenge however seems to be finding new leadership and management which can give competition to the other private airlines in India.