Tata Sons has likely emerged victorious bidding for the national carrier Air India as an Amit Shah-led panel is likely to have approved the bid, sources said. However, an official comment is awaited.
The government aims to completely hand over Air India to new owners by December 2021, sources said.
Air India Specific Alternative Mechanism (AISAM), the panel formed for the divestment of Air India, under the leadership of Home Minister, Amit Shah is expected to meet soon to approve the winning bid for Air India, sources said.
The government had begun an evaluation of the financial bids on Thursday, PTI had reported. The panel had received bids from Tata Group and SpiceJet founder, though the former was a leading contender.
Tatas were also the potential bidders for the airline when the government had tried to sell a stake in the carrier in 2001 and 2007.
The Tata Group had founded Air India as Tata Airlines in October 1932, but it was nationalised in 1953. Meanwhile, Tatas partnered with Singapore Airlines to operate a premier full-service carrier, Vistara.
Air India's stake sale process had begun in January 2020 but it had run into roadblocks due to a worldwide outbreak of coronavirus. In April 2021, the government had invited bidders to put in financial bids. This round was due to end on September 15.
With previous attempts of finding a suitor failing to get any significant interest, the government finally sweetened the deal in October 2020. It had given bidders flexibility to decide the quantum of the humongous debt they want to absorb.
Tata Sons had put in an initial expression of interest (EoI) in December 2020 for buying the carrier.