August 2021 \ Business & Investment \ Tata Group
Deal Breaker: Tatas intensify Air India due diligence

Nearly 70 years ago after J.R.D. Tata, widely known ...

Nearly 70 years ago after J.R.D. Tata, widely known as the father of Indian civil aviation, expressed his disappointment to then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on the Government’s decision to proceed with the nationalization of the Indian aviation industry, the wheel has come full-circle. Conglomerate Tata Group which is being seen as the front runner in acquisition of Air India has intensified its due diligence process. According to highly placed sources, teams of Tata group companies’ officials have been visiting Air India sites lately.

JRD, as he was popularly known, was hurt by the Government’s decision about such a major step at the time, without consulting the Tatas, the pioneers of Indian civil aviation. At that time JRD had made his opinion clear to Pandit Nehru and others that the nationalization process would not have a positive outcome—that an air transport system that was profitable could not be run by the Government that had no experience in running an airline company. Nationalization, he said, would mean bureaucracy, lethargy, a dip in employee morale, and fall in passenger services. JRD’s words, indeed, have been proven right to the hilt, time and time again.

About the recent due diligence of Air India undertaken by Tata brass, a source told IANS that “They are trying to get a hands-on experience and feel of the airline. Besides, they are keenly focusing on the HR side of the operations.” Normally, the team of Tata Group firms’ AirAsia India, TCS, and others visit the operational and administrative sites of the national carrier.

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