Low-cost carrier AirAsia on Sunday announced industry leader Ratan Tata as Chief Advisor to the board of its Indian venture and promised ‘Nano’ airfares once it begins operating flights in the country.
Announcing Mr. Tata’s name as the Chief Advisor, Malaysia-based AirAsia chief Tony Fernandes also said that the name of Chairman for AirAsia India board would also be disclosed soon.
“Persuading Tata to be advisor has not been easy. Critical, we have someone of his massive experience to help me chart Airasia India with Mittu (Chandilya) and myself,” Mr. Fernandes announced on micro-blogging site Twitter.
Asked whether to expect ‘Nano’ price or cheapest air tickets from AirAsia India, Mr. Fernandes replied in affirmative, “Yes. It’s all about low fares. And everyday.”
Ratan Tata, who retired as head of Tata group in December last year, is considered as the main force behind launch of the world’s cheapest car, Nano. It was launched by the group at an initial price tag of Rs 1 lakh.
AirAsia is widely expected to bring in competitive pricing in the Indian aviation market, once it begins in service later this year.
Welcoming Ratan Tata to the AirAsia family, he further said that the Chairman of the board is also “someone who has redefined many parts of India. A towering man who brings unbelievable experience to AirAsia India board”.
Mr. Fernandes said that Chairman’s name would be announced either on Sunday itself or on Monday.
“AirAsia India (is) shaping up brilliantly,” he said, while adding that the company has got a ‘super CEO’, a good board and a great advisor who was “a legend in every sense”.
AirAsia has named Mittu Chandilya as the CEO of its Indian venture, where other stakeholders include Tata group and Telstra Tradeplace.
Mr. Fernandes, along with Tata Sons and Arun Bhatia of Telestra Tradeplace, has formed the 49:30:21 joint venture to launch the airline, which will be headquartered in Chennai.
The announcement comes within a couple of days of Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh saying that all the issues regarding AirAsia’s India operations have been resolved.
“All matters on AirAsia India have been resolved. The proposal has been sent to the Union Home Ministry for security clearance,” he had said in London.
As for the organisational structure, there will be an independent director on the board who would also be the non-executive chairman.
Tata Sons has nominated R. Venkatraman, former executive assistant to Ratan Tata and Bharat Vasani, the chief legal counsel of the Tata Group, on the Board.
AirAsia will be represented by Tony Fernandes and Kamarudin Bin Meranun.