tata: After Air India, Center should finalize the sale of its ground handling unit


Following the successful sale of Air India, the government is also expected to successfully complete the sale of the carrier’s ground handling unit, with foreign ground handling companies such as Swissport also looking to bid for the company.

“AIATSL (Air India Air Transport Services Ltd) is definitely a good opportunity for us and one that we want to explore. AIATSL has been operationally very strong and competent and a profitable company. So for us this is definitely one that we would like to have a potential partnership with, ”Brad Moore, managing director of Swissport Australasia, told ET.

The company is also in talks with a few existing ground handling companies for a possible joint venture for entry into India that includes handling cargo at Bengaluru airport as well as the upcoming Jewar airport.

“Overall the industry here is very mature and capable and we are looking for the right partner (s) to ensure we have the right presence and the right value in India,” added Moore.

AIATSL is generating a lot of interest from existing ground handling companies in India as the acquisition of AIATSL will make the acquiring company the largest in India.

“For us, the acquisition of AIATSL, if it happens, will give us the necessary boost in terms of business at 75 airports, including 35 international facilities,” Kishore Ganesh, business development manager at ET, told ET Swissport APAC.

The government recently sold 100% of Air India’s capital to the Tata Group and is also considering selling its groundhandling, engineering and regional airline subsidiaries.

As part of the deal, the government has taken over Air India’s debt of over ₹ 70,000 crore and the proceeds from the sale of these subsidiaries and other physical assets such as land and buildings will be used for pay off that debt. It is estimated that the government will earn around 17,000 crore from the sales.


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