On Thursday, Air India will be turned over to the Tata Group.
New Delhi: Officials announced on Wednesday that the Indian government is expected to hand over Air India to the Tata Group on Thursday, nearly 69 years after it was taken from the conglomerate.
The government sold Air India to Talace Private Limited, a subsidiary of the Tata Group's parent firm, for Rs 18,000 crore on October 8, last year, following a competitive bidding process. Meanwhile, two airline pilot unions – the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) and the Indian Commercial Pilots' Association (ICPA) – threatened legal action against Air India's CMD Vikram Dev Dutt on Monday, citing "repeated deductions and recoveries" on pilot dues.
The two unions said in their letter that "this recovery exercise is entirely illegal, and we demand that this anomaly be rectified and the amount due be repaid with immediate effect."
Additionally, two other unions oppose the carrier's January 20 directive to inspect cabin staff members' grooming and assess their body mass index (BMI) at airports soon before their flights.
These unions, the Air India Employees' Union (AIEU) and the All India Cabin Crew Association (AICCA) wrote to Dutt on Monday opposing the order, claiming that it is dehumanising and a violation of DGCA rules.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website, "BMI is a person’s weight in kilogrammes divided by the square of their height in metres. A high BMI can indicate high body fatness."
On October 8, three days after the sale of Air India was announced, the government submitted a Letter of Intent (LoI) to the Tata Group, indicating the government's intent to sell its whole ownership in the airline. The Centre signed the share purchase agreement (SPA) for this sale on October 25.
Officials stated on Wednesday that the airline will most likely be handed over to the company on Thursday, pending the completion of all requirements.
As part of the purchase, the Tata company will also receive Air India Express and a 50 per cent share in Air India's ground handling subsidiary.