Air India is expected to be handed over to the Tata Group on Thursday. The handing over will culminate the over two-decade-long journey to privatise the national carrier.
The first such attempt was made in 2001. That was when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was prime minister. But the bid was not successful.
Since then, the governments at the Centre kept trying to disinvest their stake in the national carrier but success finally came in October 2021.
Here’s a look at the previous attempts at privatisation:
2001: The Atal Bihari Vajyapee-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government tried to sell a minority stake (40 per cent) in order to raise funds.
Singapore Airlines, along with Tatas, were interested in buying the stake, but the plan could not materialise.
2007: Congress-led UPA government decided to merge Air India and its subsidiary Indian Airlines to curb financial losses incurred by the airline in past decades.
2011: The UPA government agreed to infuse ₹30,000 crore in equity funding in Air India, which will be spread over a decade. The move was meant to allow the airline to give salaries to its staff.
June 2017: Govt approved the privatisation of Air India.
March 2018: Expression of Interest (EoI) issued to sell 76 per cent stake of the national carrier, along with Air India Express and 50 per cent stake of Air India SATS Airport Services Pvt Ltd, the ground handling company.
No private firms showed any interest in buying the debt-laden airline.
January 2020: Govt decided to sell the entire 100 per cent stake and issued an EoI to invite bidders. The Covid-19 pandemic delayed the process further.
October 2021: The Centre announced that Tata Group’s ₹18,000 crore bid is successful.