Indian conglomerate Tata Sons is eyeing further expansion of its airline portfolio and has started talks with the government regarding the acquisition of a stake in Air India (AI, Mumbai Int'l), The Hindu BusinessLine has reported.

Tata Sons registered its interest shortly before a ministerial group headed by Home Minister Amit Shah is due to make a decision regarding the privatisation plan for Air India. Previous attempts in 2017 and 2018 failed after no bidders submitted offers for a stake in the flag carrier. According to unofficial reports from earlier this year, the government is now mulling a sale of a 95% stake, although it has yet to present a formal plan and secure approval from the unions.

Tata Sons already holds 51% stakes in Vistara (UK, Delhi Int'l), a joint venture with Singapore Airlines, and AirAsia India (I5, Chennai), a joint venture with AirAsia Group. The holding said it will not comment on the speculation regarding its plan for the acquisition of a stake in Air India.

JRD Tata set up Air India in 1932. The airline was nationalised in 1953.