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India’s most significant aviation transaction ever went underway last week, as the Tata Group completed the acquisition of Air India from the government of India. This marked the return of Air India to its original owners after 69 years. However, this transaction has also made life a bit complicated for the Tata Group, which now has a stake in four airlines, two of which are full-service and two are no-frills. Tata keeps Air India and Vistara as separate full-service carriers.

After attempts to re-enter aviation by acquiring Air India were cold-shouldered by the government in the earlier part of this century, the Tata Group decided to move on. In the past decade, they signed up with Tony Fernandes’ AirAsia Berhad to launch AirAsia India, where both AirAsia and the Tata Group each owned 49 percent, and the nominees of the Tata Group had two percent.


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