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Air India returns to Tatas' hangar as group wins bid

BENGALURU, Oct 8: Tata Sons (TATAS.UL) regained control of Air India (AIN.UL) - nearly 70 years after its nationalization - with the government picking up the salt-to-software conglomerate as the winning bidder for the debt-laden state-run airline.

The deal completes a full circle as Air India was founded in 1932 under the name Tata Airlines by family scion and aviation enthusiast Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata.

The following is a brief history of the loss-making airline:

* Oct. 8, 2021 - Indian government announces Tata Sons as the winning bidder for its 100% stake in Air India, after the conglomerate bid 180 billion rupees ($2.40 billion).

* Sept. 15, 2021 - India's finance ministry says Air India has received financial bids from Tata Sons and Ajay Singh, promoter of budget airline SpiceJet (SPJT.NS).

* Oct. 29, 2020 - The government gets two bids after extending the deadline several times.

* Aug. 7, 2020 - At least 17 people are killed and more than 100 injured after a plane belonging to budget arm Air India Express overshoots the runway near a southern Indian city.

* Jan. 27, 2020 - India renews push to sell the stake.

* Dec. 12, 2019 - The government decides to sell 100% of its stake after failing to find takers for its offer of 76% and full debt of the company. Provides flexible debt assumption terms.

* June 20, 2018 - India shelves a plan to sell a 76% stake due to lack of interest from bidders.

* May 31, 2018 - India's offer to sell a stake in Air India fails to attract a single bidder by the deadline, with potential buyers citing onerous conditions.

* March 28, 2018 - India plans to sell a controlling stake, along with roughly $5.1 billion of the carrier's debt.

* April 2012 - India approves a $5.8 billion bailout for Air India, which was to be received by 2020.

* July 2009 - Appoints State Bank of India (SBI.NS) to prepare a roadmap for the airline's recovery after years of losses under state control and the emergence of new players.

* 1953 - Air-India nationalized; splits into two - a domestic airline and an international carrier.

* 1946 - Tata Airlines converted into a public company and renamed Air-India Ltd. In the same year, the airline adopts its widely recognized 'Maharaja' mascot.

* 1932 - Air India was founded by JRD Tata as Tata Airlines, India's first airline. It operated only domestic flights at that time. -(Reuters)

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