Tata Trusts chairman Ratan Tata has given the credit to chairman of TATA Group N Chandrasekaran. In an email interview to the leading financial daily Economic Times, Tata said, “The decision reached by Tata Sons was totally based on the study undertaken and concluded by those under the leadership of group chairman N Chandrasekaran.”
While putting in what turned out to be a successful offer, Tata Sons, the group’s holding company, is believed to have sought the advice of Tata, its chairman emeritus. Under the present management, Air India is one of the most significant purchases.
Tata is an aviation enthusiast who holds pilot licences for both fixed-wing and helicopter aircraft. He is reported to keep a close eye on important worldwide developments in the industry.
“It is true that I have a passion for aviation and have enjoyed my time as a type-rated pilot on a variety of aircraft. I have not, however, had any involvement in the decision to bid for Air India other than a positive emotional feeling that we could endeavour to help re-establish Air India to the level of prominence it had in days gone by,” he told ET.
Tata Sons’ aviation branch was renamed Air India in 1946, and Air India International was founded in 1948 with flights to Europe. The international service may be considered one of India’s earliest PPPs, with the government owning 49 percent, the Tatas 25 percent, and the remainder owned by the general public.
Air India was nationalised in 1953. The task for the present leadership team, according to Raghu Vishwanath, MD, Vertebrand Management Consulting, would be to achieve a major increase in user experience in order to develop the brand Air India, which has huge visibility and emotional attachment with consumers.
In the email, it was also highlighted that under the previous management of Air India, employees had uncaring responses towards customers but now when Air India is under the management of TATA, then the company would work on the interpersonal skills of the staff.
In addition, Tatas will have to ensure the airline brand’s operational viability from a financial standpoint. “The group has now inherited a great brand with greater challenges. The leadership challenge will be in its execution,” said Vishwanath.
On Monday, the Indian government issued a letter of intent confirming that TATA would be the 100% stakeholder in Air India to Tata Group for Rs 18,000 crore.
Time when Air India travelled back to its original owner, Ratan Tata said: “Welcome Back, Air India… While admittedly it will take considerable effort to rebuild Air India, it will hopefully provide a very strong market opportunity to the Tata Group’s presence in the aviation industry”.