The government will announce Air India's winning bid on Friday and Tata Sons are expected to emerge as the winning bidders. If the bid goes in the favour of Tatas, the group will again become the own Air India, having sold it to the government earlier in 1946.
The government will sell 100 percent stake in the airline, including 100 percent holding in AI Express Ltd and 50 percent holding in Air India SATS Airport Services.
Secretary of Civil Aviation and Department of Investment and Public Asset Management will announce formally make the announcement on October 8, 4 pm.
Though the divestment process had begun in January 2020, it was delayed due to the outbreak of pandemic. In April 2021, government had asked bidders to put in their bids. Tata Group was among multiple entities that had put an expression of interest for buying the Maharaja carrier.
A panel -- Air India Specific Alternative Mechanism (AISAM) -- was formed under the leadership of Home Minister Amit Shah to approve the winning bids for the home carrier. The evaluation of winning bids had begun by the end of September.
The financial bid offering are being evaluated against an undisclosed reserve price and the government will accept the bid offering the highest price above the benchmark. If Tatas are successful, they will helm the airline for the second time.
Tatas currently operate a premium full-service carrier, Vistara, in partnership with Singapore Airlines.
Air India was founded by Tata Group's JRD Tata in 1932 as Tata Airlines. It was renamed to Air India when government bought the majority stake in 1946. Since then government has tried divesting stake three times. This is government's third attempt at divestment, after 2001 and 2007.
After its previous attempts failed to get interest, government this time sweetened the deal by giving the bidders flexibility to decide how much Air India's humongous debt they want to absorb.
The government aims to hand over Air India to new owners by December 2021, CNBC-TV18 had reported earlier.