It is recently revealed that in 2018, when government invited bids to acquire the centre’s 76 per cent stake in Air India which included the management control as well, Qatar Airways (QA) had reportedly sought an arrangement with Tata Group to make a combined bid. But somehow the arrangement didn’t materialize.
It is reported that the government has officially shortlisted two bidders in the drawn-out privatization process. With the shortlisting, starts the clock on the next step of the process; due diligence. The two parties will receive access to Air India’s financial and liability data which is needed to assess the airline and to make the final bid. Tata Group and SpiceJet’s MD Ajay Singh are the top-two bidders for the airline. Apparently, there were two more bidders but somehow they either withdrew from the process or were not eligible under the rules of the sale.
In a recent interview with TOI, Akbar Al Baker, CEO, Qatar Airways tells, “About four years back, we did show interest to partner with Ratan Tata (for AI joint bid). At that time, he was not interested because they were already partners with Vistara (Singapore Airlines) and AirAsia. If Tatas would have agreed to partner with us, we would have bid for AI that time.”