Ratan optimistic about TATA-SIA take off by June
A day after the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) gave its go ahead to the Tata-Singapore Airline (SIA) joint venture, Tata group Chairman Emeritus Ratan Tata and SIA chief Goh Choon Phong on Friday called on Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh and expressed confidence that their venture would start operations by May-June next year. The new venture entails an initial foreign investment of $49 million.
Tata Sons will invest $100 million in the joint venture. This is the second airline venture that Tatas’ is getting into after its tie-up with Malaysian carrier Air Asia in February for a low-cost passenger air service in the country.
“We are looking at very fast clearances. We hope that we will be able to launch by May-June,” Tata SIA Airlines chairman Prasad Menon, who accompanied Tata and Goh, told reporters after their 45-meeting with the Civil Aviation Minister here.
Speaking about the Tata-SIA venture, Singh said the new airline will benefit the Indian aviation sector and added that SIA was globally known for its expertise in technical and managerial matters and was one of the best airlines in the world.
On when the new airline is likely to get necessary clearances, Singh said “I don’t see any problems. DGCA will have to be satisfied. There are issues relating to fleet, parking space, slots and routes. It depends on how fast they (Tata-SIA) provide all those data and documents.”
Complimenting the minister for “opening up the aviation sector in a really global manner”, Tata said, “It is our responsibility to make him proud” and the Tata Sons’ airline venture with SIA was “a great opportunity” towards that end. To be called Tata SIA Airlines Ltd, the venture would be headquartered in Delhi.
The two had assured the government that control of their proposed venture would always remain in Indian hands, while seeking approval to offer full-service passenger airways on both domestic and international routes. Of the six directors, four would be nominated by the Tatas.
Earlier in the day, Tata and the delegation met Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and Economic Affairs Secretary Arvind Mayaram.