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Tata-SIA Airlines to take off by June next

Special Correspondent
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‘Control of the proposed venture will always remain in Indian hands’

Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh meeting Chairman Emeritusof Tata group Ratan Tata a day after the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) permitted Tata-Singapore Airlinesto start a full-service carrier in India, in New Delhion Friday.— Photo: V. Sudershan
Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh meeting Chairman Emeritusof Tata group Ratan Tata a day after the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) permitted Tata-Singapore Airlinesto start a full-service carrier in India, in New Delhion Friday.— Photo: V. Sudershan

Tata Group Chairman Emeritus Ratan Tata and Singapore Airlines (SIA) chief Goh Choon Phong, on Friday, met Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh to seek fast clearances for their airline venture project.

The meeting comes a day after the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) cleared the Tata-SIA project.

“We are looking to fast clearances. We hope that we will be able to launch by May-June,” Tata-SIA Airlines Chairman Prasad Menon, who accompanied Mr. Tata and Mr. Goh for the meeting, told reporters.

Mr. Singh said the entry of Tata-SIA Airlines would benefit the domestic aviation sector as SIA was globally known for its technical and managerial expertise .

Referring to the various clearances required from his Ministry, Mr. Singh said he saw no problems in these happening at a fast pace.

Issues

“I don’t see any problems. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will have to be satisfied. There are issues relating to fleet, parking space, slots, and routes. It depends on how fast Tata-SIA gives all these data and documents,” he said.

Asked about what kind of aircraft the new airline would consider flying , Mr. Goh and Mr. Menon said no fleet plan had been drawn up yet. Mr. Goh and Mr. Menon said SIA would pump in money for equity infusion into the new airline joint venture.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Tata, along with Mr. Goh, met Economic Affairs Secretary Arvind Mayaram.

Commerce Ministry sources said Tata Sons and SIA had assured the government that control of their proposed venture would always remain in Indian hands. Of the six directors, four would be nominated by the Tatas.

This is Tatas’ second venture in the aviation sector after its tie-up with Malaysian carrier Air Asia in February for a low-cost passenger air service in the country.


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