Air India has been in the news recently regarding being sold by the government. Air India, headquartered in New Delhi, India, is the flag carrier airline of the country. It is owned by Air India Limited, a government-owned enterprise, and operates a fleet of Airbus and Boeing aircraft serving 102 domestic and international destinations. Now, there is more airline shares and stockholder news coming from the aviation front – this tie from AirAsia India.
At AirAsia India, Tata Sons is increasing its stake in the airline from 51 percent to 84 percent. AirAsia India is an airline in India headquartered in Bangalore, Karnataka. The airline is a joint venture with Tata Sons and AirAsia Investment Limited. Tata Sons Private Limited is the principal holding company of the Tata Group.
The Tatas have a long history and association with aviation and were in the business even before the government-owned Air India came on the scene. AirAsia India launched in 2014 but has yet to turn a profit. However, this transaction strengthens the Tatas’ Indian assets portfolio in the aviation sector. Tata is also currently bidding to acquire flag carrier Air India, and already owns a majority stake in Vistara, another full-service carrier in India.
This current additional stake in AirAsia India was purchased for around $37.7 million, according to a filing to the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange. The filing states: This transaction will reduce cash burn of the Company in the short term and allow AirAsia to concentrate on recovery of its key ASEAN markets in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines in the long run.”
The deal to increase the Tatas’ stake hold in the airline will bring the share in AirAsia India to about 16 percent for Tony Fernandes, CEO of Malaysia-based AirAsia Group. Fernandes has been a major player in the region in aviation.
It was learned that that Tatas are keen to try to bid for Air India, which is to be dis-invested by the government, however, the process has been delayed more than once. The latest delaying culprit may very well be due to the effects of COVID-19.