After much delay, steps are finally being taken to move things along at Air India. The airline was acquired by the Tata family from the government earlier this year. It was officially handed over to the Tata Group, which paid close to $2.4 billion for the debt-ridden carrier last October that has losses worth $9.5 billion.
It is a moment of welcoming the airline home as it was founded in 1932 by the Tata family and was taken over the Government of India 21 years later in 1953. Now, close to 70 years later, Natarajan Chandrasekaran, who chairs Tata Sons, has been made Chairman of Air India. The Tata family and legacy is one of the most respected organizations in India for its business acumen as well as philanthropic work.
Said the Air India Chairman on January 27, 2022, when the airline was officially turned over to the Tata family once again: “From the day of the announcement, one word has been on everyone’s lips: homecoming.”
“We are proud to welcome Air India back to the Tata family after all these years.”
The posts of Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director have yet to be filled. Turkish businessperson Mehmet İlker Aycı turned down the job as CEO of the airline. It has been said that Ayci is close to Turkish leadership, which India is not very comfortable with, to say the least. Some observers speculated that Air India would look for another foreign professional to head the airline after Ayci was a no-go. So far, 2 leading corporate world stalwarts have been named as directors – Sajnjiv Mehta and Vaidya.
Chandrashekhar now has the task of turning the airline around from a money pit to a money-making business. He is putting his focus on technology, customer service, and financial discipline to get the airline back on track while also searching for and hiring a CEO as his top priorities.
According to the terms of sale, the Tatas must retain airline staff for a minimum of one year. As new airlines are coming onto the scene, aviation in India will be of great importance and nothing short of exciting.