In 1932, JRD Tata flew a light single-engine Puss Moth plane from Karachi to Bombay via Ahmedabad, the first scheduled air service in the country under Tata Airlines, which became Air India in 1946. More than 74 years later, Ratan Tata is re-entering the aviation business by picking up a minority stake in Delhi-based budget carrier SpiceJet, said sources in the Tata Group who didn’t want to be identified.
This is despite the adverse experience the Tatas had while trying to start an airline in partnership with Singapore Airlines (SIA) some years ago. Ratan Tata had then said he would never look at this sector ever again.
The Tatas are picking up 7.5 per cent stake in SpiceJet through a preferential offer. They are claiming this is primarily a financial investment, and not strategic in nature. They will not get a seat on the board.
"Large-scale investment by big groups, which we did not have earlier, is beginning to come in now. Growth of aviation is integral to the country’s economic growth," said Air Deccan CEO GR Gopinath.