The Foreign Investment and Promotion Board (FIPB) on Tuesday approved AirAsia’s plans to enter Indian skies, according to a Finance Ministry statement.
The Malaysian budget carrier has plans of starting a new passenger airline in partnership with Tata Sons and Arun Bhatia’s Telestra Tradeplace Pvt Ltd.
Malaysia’s largest budget carrier had proposed to induct Rs 80.98 crore to start the airline that would have a 49:30:21 joint venture with the Tata Group company and Telestra Tradeplace.
Union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said that AirAsia hasn’t yet approached the ministry. “No, they have not submitted any application as yet. There are some concerns, some procedural issues with regard to the proposed airline. We will look into it quickly. But all that will depend on how fast they provide us the information regarding safety, aircraft, pilots and airworthiness of aircraft. Any clearance will depend on how fast they give all this information which will be required by DGCA to grant them a flying permit,” Singh said.
AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes took to micro-blogging site, Twitter to express his elation. “All the hard work and consistent focus is paying off. A consistent strategy and well thought out plan is coming together,” Fernandes tweeted on Tuesday.
He had said on Monday that hiring will commence soon for the India operations. “We’re hiring soon... India here we come,” Fernandes added.
AirAsia is the first foreign airline to take advantage of the easing of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) norms in aviation in September last year. The government has permitted foreign airlines to have 49 per cent FDI in an Indian carrier. AirAsia will be headquartered in Chennai and will initially be operating in south India.