Tata Sons is setting up a short-term advisory team ahead of its takeover of Air India. This will comprise key Tata Group executives, including board members, global aviation specialists and some top Air India officials, said people with knowledge of the matter. The Tata Sons board will meet on Tuesday to discuss the strategy for Air India, they said. Funding plans for the group’s airline businesses, including Air India, will also most likely be discussed.
The government announced Friday that the group will take over state-owned Air India through Talace Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary. Talace will eventually house the two Tata carriers, Vistara and AirAsia India, said the people cited above.
The Tata Group is keen to hit the ground running with Air India and the advisory team will guide its integration into the fold, including takeover and handover formalities, they said.
Tata Sons did not comment.
“It is really too early to say a strategy is in place,” said a senior executive aware of developments. “Many things have to be understood and ironed out.”
Ratan Tata’s Advice to be Sought
“The deal will be officially signed in November and we are chalking out a tentative strategy on the integration. It’s a services-oriented sector and we are very conscious of the trust laid on us by the government and consumers. The brand Air India has to emerge much stronger and we are roping in the best team to work on the plan,” the executive added.
Chairman emeritus Ratan Tata will also be approached for his advice on the plan, given his experience of aviation and global connections in the sector, said the people cited above.
Tata Sons senior vice president Nipun Agarwal, one of the key people who helmed the Air India deal, is said to be in France for discussions with Airbus on aircraft. Tata Sons is also considering suggestions to get employees to spend time working at Norwegian airlines, seen as one of the most professionally run global airlines.
Sudip Mahapatra, partner at the law firm S&R Associates, said the systems, processes and culture of a private sector company are vastly different from that of a public sector undertaking.
“The Tatas will need to invest significant time and effort in reorienting the entire Air India organisation to enable it to function in alignment with the rest of their corporate group,” Mahapatra said.