A month after the TATA group won the bid to take over the national carrier, Air India, the group is likely to get its management control formally from the third week of January next year.
“Air India will be transferred to its new owner, the Tata Group, by the third week of January 2022,” Union aviation minister Jyotiraditya M Scindia said at the programme on Thursday. India will also see a startup, Akasa, take to the skies along with a reborn Jet Airways next year.
According to the top government sources, the Tata group will be behind the AI wheels by January 23. “It is the ‘long stop date’ by which Tatas have to take over the airlines,” a top official said.
On soaring aviation turbine fuel prices that have led to a 400% increase in Indian airlines’ operating cost in recent months, Scindia said that “had the government not recently raised domestic fare bands by 12.5% some months back, there “won’t have been any airline left for us to board.”
According to the Union minister, there is a tremendous recovery in the aviation sector since the Covid-19 pandemic grounded all the activities last year. “We are seeing a tremendous amount of green shoots. The last weekend saw a high of 3.8 lakh passengers daily, with the pre-Covid high being 4.2 lakh. So we are only 10% below the pre-Covid high. Almost 90% of (domestic) traffic has recovered. But it is important to be cautious,” Scindia said.