Tata Group-owned Vistara says it is evaluating Maharaja

Air India privatisation, air india sale, air india bidders, Home Minister, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Expression of Interest, Hardeep Singh Puri, Nirmala Sitharaman

Air India privatisation, air india sale, air india bidders, Home Minister, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Expression of Interest, Hardeep Singh Puri, Nirmala Sitharaman




National carrier Maharaja could be set for homecoming as Vistara, which is owned by Air India-founder Tata Group, is evaluating bidding for the cash-strapped airline. "We are evaluating Air India. Which company would not be interested in evaluating a sovereign airline of the country?" Bhaskar Bhat, chairman, Vistara, said, PTI reported. However, the company also said that it is not confirmed yet if it will participate in the bidding. "Whether we bid or not comes later," he added. The airline was founded by JRD Tata in 1932 but was later nationalised. However, the government now looks to disinvest 100% of its stake in the airline as the carrier has been bleeding money. 
Upon being asked if Vistara is evaluating bidding or Tata Sons, Bhaskar Bhat said: "We (Vistara) are a joint venture." Earlier, N Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons, had said that it is "too early" for the company to take a call on Air India. "It is too early…" N Chandrasekaran had told the news agency upon being asked if Tata Group would be bidding for the airline. Tata Group's interest in the airline has been in news for sometime now and it was earlier reported that the group could be moving closer to a decision to bid for Air India in partnership with Singapore Airlines. Singapore Airlines is also a partner in full-service airline Vistara. 
The now Maharaja was founded by philanthropist JRD Tata as Tata Air Services but in 1950s, the government purchased a majority stake in the airline. Vistara and AirAsia marked the group's re-entry in India's aviation business, which is now the world's fastest growing aviation market despite the blip caused by Jet Airways shutdown and grounding of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. 
Meanwhile, the government stands firm on its stance to divest its stake in the airline and Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of Civil Aviation, has repeatedly said that it is not government's business to be in business. 


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